Weekly Toll

I’ve been away, so we’ll be catching up this week and next. This time we have another trench collapse, a decapitation, shootings, machinery incidents, falls, vehicle deaths and an electrocution. On average, almost 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. Over 20 times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died, or from COVID-19 acquired at work. The few narratives below (gathered from almost 100 Google News searches) do not come close to capturing the full toll that work takes on the working people of this country — even in normal years, much less during the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless the accounts below gave you a taste of the preventable carnage occurring in workplaces across the country every day.

Longtime Caltrans worker — a father of 8 — killed on the job in Fresno collision

A California Department of Transportation engineer was struck and killed while working late Sunday evening near Fresno, according to the department. Ali Shabazz, 48, of Fresno, was on duty and heading to a job site when he was struck by another vehicle, according to an email Caltrans Director Tony Tavares sent to employees Monday afternoon. A Caltrans news release said only that the collision occurred at a rural intersection. Shabazz had worked for the department since 2006 and was a civil engineer in construction, according to Tavares’ email. He left behind a wife and eight children.

ABQ homicide detectives investigating fatal shooting

Albuquerque, NM — Albuquerque police are investigating after a maintenance worker was killed Sunday night while doing a random check on vacant apartments in the complex where he lived. Lt. Ray Del Greco, with the Albuquerque Police Department, said officers were dispatched to a shots fired call at an apartment complex on the 500 block of Madeira SE, near Zuni and San Mateo SE, around 11 p.m. He said when they arrived they found a person dead. Del Greco said neighbors told officers that the maintenance worker, who also lived on the property, was checking on the property when he was shot. He said no one is in custody and there is no suspect information.

Amazon worker dies after crash at Cumberland County warehouse

Carlisle, PA — A 22-year-old man has died days after he was iinvolved in a crash while working at an Amazon warehouse outside Carlisle, authorities said. Alex Carrillo, of New Oxford, died Saturday at Holy Spirit Hospital, according to Cumberland County Coroner Charley Hall. Carrillo’s death was ruled accidental as a result of multiple traumatic injuries. An Amazon spokesperson said Carrillo was on a powered industrial truck at a fulfillment center at 2 Ames Drive in South Middleton Township when another truck crashed into his Aug. 1. Carrillo’s death marks the third Amazon employee death at a Carlisle-area warehouse since 2014.

Worker dies in collapsed trench in Greeley

GREELEY, Colo. — A man has died after getting caught in a collapsed trench in Greeley Saturday. The Greeley Fire Department said they were called to a report of a trench collapse with a person trapped in the 1900 block of East 16th Street just before noon. Crews found a trench that was about six foot deep with a portion of the wall that had collapsed and one person trapped inside.

Sanitation worker struck by police cruiser in Pompano Beach dies

POMPANO BEACH, FLA. – A drive involving a police officer in Pompano Beach has turned deadly. Fifty-nine-year-old Pedro Lugo-Bello, a sanitation worker, died Monday from his injuries after being hit by a police cruiser. The incident happened near North Ocean Drive back in July. Lugo-Bello was doing sanitation work when he was struck by the officer.

Employee killed, 8 firefighters injured in Wilmington Air Park foam release incident

Hillsboro, OH — An Airborne supervisor was killed and eight firefighters were injured Sunday afternoon after fire suppression foam was released in a hangar at the Wilmington Air Park, according to a press conference livestreamed by Fox 19. According to Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Bauer, who served as Public Information Officer for the conference, on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 1:45 p.m., the release of fire suppression foam was reported at Hangar 1006 at the Wilmington Air Park. Bauer said that the cause of the foam’s release is unknown at this time but confirmed that it was “not a fire.” At the time of the initial call, there were reports of “multiple injuries” as well as individuals trapped in a vehicle at the hangar’s entrance and one person “unaccounted for” in an office at that hangar, Bauer said. She said that the individuals in the vehicle were rescued, but the “unaccounted for” employee was killed. Tim Law, 55, an Airborne Maintenance Area Supervisor, passed away as a result of the incident. Bauer asked that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.

Arrest made in deadly Clarios facility shooting between coworkers

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — An arrest has been made in the fatal shooting between coworkers at the Clarios Manufacturing Facility in Kernersville. On Aug. 2, after 11 p.m., deputies responded to reports of a shooting at the facility on Powering Progress Drive. There, a man, identified by family as Erik Bailey, was found suffering from a single gunshot wound. Deputies began life-saving measures, but the shooting victim died. The business was then put on lockdown and the building was secured. An investigation revealed that two employees got into an argument and one then shot and killed the other.

Truck driver dies after vehicle plunges from Route 80 ramp in Elmwood Park

Elmwood Park, NJ — A truck driver died after his tractor-trailer veered off route 80 in Elmwood Park, crashed though the guardrail, plunged off the overpass and caught fire around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, according to New Jersey State Police. The preliminary investigation indicates that a tractor-trailer traveled in the right shoulder, struck the guardrail, and continued over the curbed median and through the exit 61 on-ramp, said state police public information officer Sgt. Alejandro Goez. “The tractor-trailer went through another guardrail and fell off the overpass” Goez said. “As a result, the T.T. overturned and became engulfed.” “It fell a good 20 feet,” he said. The driver has yet to be identified. The trailer was registered to DM Bowman Inc. out of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Tragic incident ends in death

Calhoun County, TX — A Calhoun County resident died in a work-related accident Saturday afternoon. The man was cleaning the inside of a cement truck in the Con-Metal laydown off Warehouse Street in the Westside Subdivision Saturday around 2 p.m. as part of its maintenance when the accident occurred, said Calhoun County Sheriff Bobbie Vickery. The incident is still under investigation but Vickery said there were no signs of foul play. “It was a tragic accident,” he said. “When we complete our investigation, then OSHA will come in to investigate.” The man was inside the drum chipping out the dried on concrete when “for some reason, the drum was rotated,” said Vickery. Misael Garcia, 38, of Port Lavaca, lost his footing and fell toward the front of the drum, where he was decapitated.

Colorado deputy shot and killed in line of duty; police search for suspect

Widefield, CO — A Colorado sheriff’s department confirmed they are searching for a suspect after one of their deputies was shot and killed in the line of duty. Deputy Andrew Peery from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting when a suspect opened fire. He was shot and later died of his injuries. The altercation happened in Widefield, Colorado, around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday night.

Man dies in industrial accident

LAWRENCE, MA — A man died after an industrial accident Saturday morning at Unitex Textile Rental Services, 155 Shepard St. The man, whose name, age or hometown is not being released, was brought to Lawrence General Hospital in cardiac arrest and passed from his injuries, according to Deputy Fire Chief Jack Meaney. The man got tangled in machinery will installing a dryer, Meaney said. Meaney added that the Lawrence Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 8:22 a.m. By the time he was removed from the machine, the man was in cardiac arrest, said Meaney. The man was not an employee of Unitex but an employee of the company installing the machinery, said Meaney.

Worker at C.A. Lawton Co. died due to injuries after Friday accident

Green Bay, WI — The C.A. Lawton Co. confirms there was a fatality resulting from an accident at the foundry on Friday. They said a 24-year-old worker died due to his injuries. The cause of death is being determined by the ongoing OSHA investigation. C.A. Lawton Co. is an iron casting foundry, according to the company’s website.

Fabpro Polymers confirms worker’s death at Kingman facility

KINGMAN, Kan. (KWCH) – Fabpro Polymers confirmed a worker died Thursday at its Kingman facility in what the company described as “an incident on the production floor.” The company said the Kingman facility is closed pending an investigation.

One Police Officer Killed, Another Seriously Injured in Florida Shooting

Kissimmee, FL — One police officer was killed and another is in grave condition after a late night shooting in Florida. Authorities say two officers investigating reports of drug activity in the town of Kissimmee were shot in what may have been an ambush. “They were surprised,” Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said at a Saturday morning news conference. Asked if the officers had fallen victim to a sneak attack, O’Dell said, “It’s too early to tell, but it’s leading that way.” Police say they have arrested and charged a 46-year-old man in connection with the shooting. The officers were identified as Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran of the force, and Sgt. Sam Howard, a 10-year veteran. Baxter died of his injuries, leaving behind three children. Howard is in grave critical condition with a grim prognosis, O’Dell said.

Furniture company employee killed during Fort Worth carjacking of moving truck

FORT WORTH, TX — A man who was working for a furniture company died during a carjacking of his moving truck Friday morning, Fort Worth police said. Homicide detectives are investigating whether the victim was shot or if his fatal injuries were caused by jumping or falling from the truck while he was being carjacked, a police spokesperson said. The incident occurred around 11 a.m. in the 3800 block of Reed Street. The truck was found a few blocks away, police said. No suspects are in custody, and no description was released. A 911 call log said that the victim had lost “a lot of blood.” By the time police arrived, the man had succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Get unlimited digital access Subscribe now for just $2 for 2 months. CLAIM OFFER The victim will be identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. Canales Furniture, based in Arlington, said in a statement that the victim was an employee.

Fort Stewart police officer killed in crash

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC/COASTAL NEWS SERVICE) – A Fort Stewart Department of Defense police officer was killed in a crash last Thursday in Liberty County.
According to a Georgia State Patrol trooper, the crash claimed the life of Thomas Biele, 54. The trooper said Biele was attempting to make a left turn onto Elam Road from State Route 196 on his motorcycle when he collided with a car at about 8 am. The trooper said the front passenger end of the car made contact with Biele, throwing him from his bike and causing severe injuries to the lower part of his body. Biele was taken by ambulance to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville where he later died.

Officer killed after shooting during training exercise inside Anacostia Library

Washington D.C. — Police arrived in the library on Good Hope Road Southeast for a report of a shooting. They found a library police officer who had been shot and was unconscious and not breathing. They took her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead, D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said in a news conference. There was an ASP baton training taking place at one of the library’s room that involved some six people, including the trainer — a retired D.C. police officer — and several officers, Contee said. At the end of the training, the trainer, who was contracted by library police to conduct training, fired a shot and struck the officer. Contee said the findings are preliminary and a lot of investigation needs to be done, but he’s not sure why the trainer had a live weapon in a training environment.

McDonald’s worker shot in spat over cold french fries dies ― murder charges expected against gunman

Brooklyn, NY — The Brooklyn McDonald’s worker shot point-blank in a flap over cold french fries has died, police said Friday. Matthew Webb, 23, brain-dead following the Monday night shooting, had been on life support at Brookdale University Hospital. The suspect, Michael Morgan, 20, accused of shooting the fast-food worker in the face because he was angry about how the restaurant handled his mother’s fry order, is expected to be charged with murder.

Demolition worker dies in DeKalb County

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) – A worker who was preparing a building for demolition was killed Thursday after he plunged through the roof of a commercial building. A second worker also fell but survived. The man was identified by authorities as 24-year-old Kevin Rodgers of Laurel Hill, Florida. Investigators from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department explained that Mr. Rodgers was removing metal roofing from a previously burnt 24-foot-tall structure in Waterloo when he fell through the roof. While he wore a safety harness, it was not attached to an anchor point. The surviving man was identified as 24-year-old William Rogers also of Laurel Hill. Authorities said he was also using a harness that was not anchored. William fell through the same area of the roof but survived his injuries. He is being treated for rib fractures.

Maintenance worker killed in crossfire during shooting at Atlanta apartments

ATLANTA, GA – Officers are searching for multiple suspects in the death of an Atlanta apartment complex’s maintenance worker allegedly caught in the crossfire during a shooting at the property. Officials with the Atlanta Police Department tell FOX 5 they first got the call to respond to the Columbia Commons apartments on the 2500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. SW around 10:30 a.m. Thursday to investigate a shots fired call. Police weren’t able to find anything at the complex, but an hour later they were called back to the scene by reports of a person down. This time, officials found a man dead from a gunshot wound at the complex. Police have not identified the victim, but a spokesperson for the apartments say that he was a member of their maintenance staff.

Truck driver killed in rollover crash on Southern Utah highway

CEDAR CITY, UT — A truck driver was killed in a rollover on state Route 20 in northern Iron County on Wednesday morning. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Roden said the crash happened at approximately 6:20 a.m. on SR-20, approximately 8.5 miles east of Interstate 15’s Exit 95. Roden said the vehicle, which he described as a commercial box truck being driven by a 24-year-old man from Arizona, went off the road as it was heading westbound. “The truck drifted off the right side of the roadway and the driver corrected back to the left, then the truck overturned onto its side,” Roden wrote in a news release posted at 3 p.m. The driver, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, died at the scene, said Roden said, adding that the man was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the truck during the crash. His name has not been released, pending notification of family, Roden said.

Worker killed in shooting at Sacramento Speedway gas station

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A woman who worked at a Sacramento gas station died after a shooting early Wednesday morning at the station, KCRA 3 has confirmed. The shooting happened at the Speedway gas station off Gateway Oaks Drive in the Natomas neighborhood around 12:25 a.m., according to the Sacramento Police Department dispatch. She died at the gas station, according to authorities. 7-Eleven, which owns and operates Speedway gas stations, told KCRA 3 in a statement, “Our hearts are with the victim’s loved ones at this difficult time. We are working with local law enforcement to aid their investigation.”

Commercial fisherman dies in heavy equipment accident at ENC fish market

HOBUCKEN, Pamlico County, NC — An eastern North Carolina man died over the weekend in a heavy equipment accident at a seafood house. Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis said William Smith of Bayboro was killed while using a forklift to move items from boat to boat at R.E. Mayo Seafood in Hobucken. He was employed by the fish market as a commercial fisherman. Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis said William Smith died when a piece of equipment fell on him while he was on a forklift. It happened at R.E. Mayo Seafood in Hobucken.

Man crushed by bale of hay in Hockessin

Hockessin, DE — A worker is dead after being crushed by a bale of hay in Hockessin. Authorities in New Castle County say it happened late Wednesday morning at an area off of McGovern Road. The victim’s co-workers reportedly found him pinned under the 1500 pound bale and moved it off of him before starting CPR. However the man was later pronounced dead. OSHA is investigating the accident.

Distracted Lyft driver hits, kills utility worker near West Palm Beach, sheriff’s office says

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A distracted Lyft driver with two passengers inside his vehicle hit and killed a utility worker Tuesday near West Palm Beach, authorities confirm to WPTV. According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office crash report, a 55-year-old Lake Worth Beach man was driving a 2020 Chevy Malibu in the 3000 block of Southern Boulevard around 4 p.m. Tuesday when he became distracted, drifted to the left, and struck Julio Angel Flores Figueroa, 55, of West Palm Beach. The sheriff’s office said Figueroa, who was marking utilities in the center median at the time of the crash, hit the Malibu’s windshield and tumbled to the pavement. PBSO spokeswoman Teri Barbera confirmed to WPTV on Wednesday the driver who hit Figueroa works for Lyft and had two passengers inside his car. It’s unclear why he became distracted. Figueroa was pronounced dead at the scene, while the Lyft driver suffered minor injuries.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, two staff members killed in Indiana car crash

Elkhart County, Ind. — Rep. Jackie Walorski (R- Ind.) and three other people, including two members of her staff, were killed in a car crash Wednesday afternoon, according to the Elkhart County, Ind., Sheriff’s Office. “It is with a heavy heart that I am sharing this statement from the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an announcement on Twitter. Walorski, 58, was involved in a two-vehicle crash on Route 19 south of Route 119, according to the sheriff’s office, that also claimed the lives of her staffers Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28, and the driver of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56. Schmucker, of Nappanee, Ind., was pronounced dead at the scene. The sheriff’s office said Thursday in a statement that the sport-utility vehicle driven by Potts was northbound on Route 19 when it “crossed the center line for reasons that are unknown at this time and the two vehicles collided.” The SUV struck the Buick LeSabre driven by Schmucker, which was headed southbound.

Spartanburg Co. employee killed, deputy injured in crash

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County employee died following a crash Wednesday afternoon involving a deputy. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened at 1:20 p.m. on Pine Street at Brown Road. Highway Patrol said a Spartanburg County pickup truck was turning onto Pine Street from Brown Road when it was hit on the driver’s side by a Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office SUV. Officials from Spartanburg County said two county employees were involved. One from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and one from another department. The driver of the pickup truck died at the hospital. The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 63-year-old Charles Ricky Graham of Pauline. Graham was an employee of the Roads and Bridges department of Spartanburg County and had worked for the county for nearly 20 years.

Anthony Wrencenyar Dies after Rescue from Industrial Hopper in Ventura

VENTURA, CA  – Anthony W. Wrencenyar was killed in an industrial accident in Ventura on Monday morning, August 1. Wrencenyar became trapped in a machinery at a flooring manufacturing plant in the 6200 block of Ventura Boulevard shortly before 8:00 a.m. The facility is located in an industrial area along the north side of Highway 101 in the Montalvo area. Fire officials described the large machine as a sawdust hopper. The complex rescue was assisted by fire crews from Oxnard and Ventura County. Two urban search and rescue teams took part in the operation. The search and rescue teams used specialized equipment and techniques to pull Wrencenyar from the machinery. The response involved 22 units.

Employee killed after being electrocuted in Henry County

HENRY COUNTY, Ga — Officials identified a AT&T worker who was electrocuted after his truck came into contact with power lines, setting off a massive fire that left people in a nearby mobile home community without power.  Channel 2′s Tom Jones spoke with Henry County residents on Wednesday who recounted the incident that left 44-year-old James Suttles dead. The Henry County fire marshal said Suttles was trying to stow the bucket in the bed of his work truck around noon Tuesday at the mobile home park on Clark Drive. The neighbors say it sounded like a bomb went off. They say his work truck then exploded. “The truck was on fire. The telephone and the wire was on fire, dripping fire,” Ashley Key said. Maintenance worker Justin Smith said he heard a loud boom and raced to the scene. Smith said he quickly knew it wasn’t good for Suttles. “Just a big boom. Sounded like a bomb going off,” Smith said. That’s when he noticed the AT&T truck. “The rear axle of the truck was all in flames,” Darden said. “No one expects to go to work and not make it home.” Suttles worked for the company for 24 years.

City of Altus employee dies after heavy equipment accident

ALTUS, Okla. (KFOR) – City officials in one Oklahoma community are mourning the loss of a city employee. Around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, officials say a City of Altus employee was injured while operating a piece of heavy equipment at the city landfill. Investigators say Tonya Brand was operating a 2006 Caterpillar Road Scraper and was injured while traveling down a steep embankment. Authorities say Brand was wearing a seatbelt, but suffered arm, leg, and internal injuries. She was rushed to an Oklahoma City hospital in serious condition. Sadly, she succumbed to her injuries. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

2 officers killed, 5 wounded in 3 weeks: N.C. law enforcement sees a spike in shootings

Raleigh, NC — Friday afternoon a manhunt was still underway for the person responsible for killing a Wake County deputy southeast of Raleigh. Deputy Ned Byrd was found dead overnight. The sheriff’s office said he had been alone except for his K9 partner when he was shot around 11 p.m. Thursday. Byrd was the seventh law enforcement officer shot, and the second to die from his injuries, in the past three weeks. “Much of what this profession is is going into the unknown when you step out of that car. When you walk up to serve an item of civil process, be it a domestic violence protective order or eviction, you don’t know what’s on the other side of the door,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said. Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd was shot and killed late Thursday night southeast of Raleigh. Byrd is the second deputy in North Carolina killed this month, and the seventh officer to be shot in the past three weeks. Wayne County Sgt. Matthew Fishman was shot Aug. 1 while serving involuntary commitment papers. He died the next day. Deputies and police officers have been killed or injured in shootings in Caldwell, Forsyth, Sampson, Wake and Wayne counties in recent weeks. On Aug. 1, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Matthew Fishman, 38, and two other deputies were shot when they went to a house to serve involuntary commitment papers. Fishman died of his injuries the next day. Deputy Alexander Torres, 27, and Cpl. Andrew Cox, 37, survived their gunshot wounds.

Utility worker hit, killed by distracted driver while working in Palm Beach County

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A utility worker from West Palm Beach was hit and killed Tuesday afternoon while marking utilities on Southern Boulevard. A driver in a 2020 Chevy Malibu was traveling westbound on Southern Boulevard around 4 p.m. when the driver was distracted and drifted to the leftm deputies said. The victim, 55-year-old Julio Angel Flores Figueroa, was working on the center median in the 3000 block when the Malibu struck the median and mounted the curb. Officials said the driver hit Figueroa, and after impact, came to rest in the center median. Figueroa died at the scene, deputies said. The driver sustained minor injuries.

Worker killed at construction site

PACE, Fla.  – The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death of a construction worker in Pace. Deputies responded around 9 a.m. today to a construction accident at the intersection of Pace Lane and Skipper Lane. Authorities said the victim was injured while working with heavy machinery and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Delmont man killed when garbage truck crashed into Wilmerding homes

Wilmerding, PA — A garbage truck driver from Delmont died early Tuesday morning after the truck he was driving rolled over and crashed into three houses in Wilmerding. The victim, Dana M. Rodericks, 47, was driving a truck that had been traveling on Jefferson Street and attempted to turn onto the 400 block of Patton Street when it tipped over and crashed into the houses at about 4 a.m., Allegheny County Police said. Rodericks died at the scene. One of the houses was occupied, but no injuries were reported by the residents.

Man killed in South L.A. industrial accident

Los Angeles, CA — A man died after a skid-steer loader apparently fell on him in South Los Angeles Tuesday morning. The incident was reported around 9:45 a.m. in the 1400 block of West 81st Street in the Manchester Square neighborhood, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Amairani Villa, 23, apparently was unloading a “skid steer loader” from the truck when he became trapped beneath it, the LAFD reported. The machine fell on the worker as he was attempting to unload it from a vehicle, officials explained in an alert. Cal OSHA and the coroner’s office responded to the scene. No other injuries were reported.

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