Weekly Toll

How workers died last week: Crushed under loading ramp, murdered at group home, killed in tree-trimming incident, shootings,  falls, vehicle incidents. On average, over 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. More than 20 times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died. 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. Nevertheless the accounts below gave you a taste of the preventable carnage occurring in workplaces across the country every day. 

Worker Killed At Fenix Auto Parts In Woodbridge

Orlando Feliciano

WOODBRIDGE, NJ — An employee at Fenix Auto Parts in Woodbridge was crushed to death in a workplace accident on Dec. 28, according to Woodbridge Police. This happened at 5:31 a.m. on Dec. 28, when the man was crushed by a loading ramp, according to Robert Brady, the Woodbridge Police Department’s chief law enforcement officer. The man has been identified as Orlando Feliciano, 38. He leaves behind a wife and two children, a 12-year-old girl and a boy, just 2. The family lives in Somerset. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has now taken over the investigation. “Apparently he was underneath the ramp and I don’t know if a pin or stabilizer was removed, but at some point the ramp crushed him,” said Brady. “We got there pretty immediately after it happened, but the man was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

16-year-old charged with murder after group home worker killed, CMPD says

CHARLOTTE, NC — A 16-year-old at a group home is accused of killing an adult who worked and lived there, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Thursday night. Police said Ganiyu Ibrahim, 54, died at the scene. The deadly encounter started with a physical altercation at the home in the 5200 block of Swearngan Road near North Hoskins Road in northwest Charlotte, police said. The suspect initially left the scene but came back. They were placed into custody and interviewed by detectives. Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz learned that the group home is run by Miracle House. According to the company’s website, they offer a nurturing and secure environment for children who are at risk of being removed from their homes or require a higher level of help. One neighbor, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said police have been called to the house multiple times but not for anything like this.

Employee killed when car falls on top of him at Jackson gas station

Jackson, NJ — A 26-year-old employee from Freehold was killed at a gas station and auto body shop in Jackson after a car fell on top of him, according to police. Officials say the employee was working underneath a car he was servicing at GasTime when the car fell on him. CPR was performed, police say. The man was transferred to HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he died.

Go Fund Me set up for Iron Worker Local 396 apprentice who died on the job

St. Louis, MO — Adam Wolf, a first-year Iron Workers Local 396 apprentice, died unexpectedly on the job last week. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help the young family with two small children. A Go Fund Me account has been set up for an Iron Workers Local 396 apprentice working for ACME Erectors who died unexpectedly on the job last week. “We are very saddened to pass along the news that Local 396 Adam Wolf – a first year apprentice – has passed away,” Local 396 shared on its Facebook page. “Adam was thriving in the apprenticeship program, and he will be missed by all our brothers and sisters.

Mission truck driver killed in ‘freak accident’

La Joya, TX — The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a workplace accident in La Joya where a truck driver was crushed to death, according to a news release. Deputies with the sheriff’s office arrived at a gravel pit at the 2200 block of Jara Chinas Road in rural La Joya at around 5 a.m. Tuesday. At the scene, deputies were told an independent truck driver, who was picking up a load of gravel, was involved in the accident, the news release stated. Deputies observed the tractor had been crushed, and the driver — identified as 46-year-old Luis Rivera Jr. of Mission — was dead inside the cab of the vehicle. La Joya fire Chief Leroy Salinas said at the time of what he referred to as a “freak accident,” the driver was trying to unload gravel into the pit in a “jackknife position,” causing it to fall and take the truck with it. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration have been contacted to conduct an investigation into the accident.

Emergency crews respond to workplace fatality in North Mankato

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) –A man has died after falling off a roof while at work in North Mankato Thursday morning. North Mankato police say 57-year-old Jesus M. Lara-Mena of Saint Peter was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident at RDO Equipment on Lor Ray Drive. Authorities say Lara-Mena fell approximately 30 feet from the roof of the commercial building just before 8 a.m. Thursday. Lifesaving efforts were performed unsuccessfully and the exact cause and manner of death is being determined by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to law enforcement.

1 tree trimmer dead, another injured after cut branch falls in North Naples, authorities say

North Naples, FL — Authorities said one person is dead after a tree branch fell on them while working at a home Saturday in North Naples. Adam Fisher, spokesperson for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies were called to the home on Caribbean Road around 9:56 a.m. about a tree-trimming accident. Authorities said a large cut branch fell and struck one of the workers, who died of his injuries. Another worker fell off the tree when the branch came down and was transported to NCH Baker Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. The sheriff’s office identified the deceased as Nelson Tutputul, 22, .

Tow truck driver killed on the job on New Year’s Eve in Spring Valley identified

Spring Valley, CA — A tow truck driver killed after he was hit by a vehicle on New Year’s Eve in Spring Valley has been identified as a 62-year-old El Cajon man. CHP responded to reports of a collision between a vehicle and pedestrian at around 8 p.m. Sunday on southbound State Route 125, just south of Jamacha Road. The pedestrian was a 62-year-old tow truck operator, identified Monday by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office as Dale Alan Pumphrey, who was on the shoulder loading a car onto his flatbed truck, according to the CHP. Pumphrey was hit by a Toyota Prius driven by a 60-year-old man, the CHP said. The Prius driver veered out of his lane — the reason is still being investigated by the CHP — and hit the rear end of Pumphrey’s tow truck, then hit Pumphrey, who died at the scene despite life-saving efforts from first responders. Drugs or alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash, the CHP said.

2 dead after employee shot at Southwest Florida hotel on New Year’s Eve

COLLIER COUNTY, Florida (WBBH) — Two people are dead, including one victim and a suspect, after a shooting at a Collier County hotel on New Year’s Eve. According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the deadly shooting happened at Port of the Islands Resort hotel on Sunday afternoon. Detectives say the suspect, a former employee of the 25000 Tamiami Trail East hotel, entered the lobby at 3:25 p.m. and shot a hotel employee. The employee died of their injuries.

Dump truck driver killed, 2 others injured in chain-reaction crash, police say

Trenton, NJ — A dump truck driver died Wednesday afternoon and two others were injured in a chain-reaction crash on a busy Trenton highway, police said. The crash, which occurred on Route 129 northbound, was reported to police at 12:13 p.m. When officers arrived, they saw three dump trucks involved in the crash, including one that had overturned near Lalor Street, according to a statement from the Trenton Police Department. All of the drivers were taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where one was pronounced dead and two others were treated for minor injuries, investigators said. Milky Sosa, 51, of Bloomfield in Essex County, died in the crash, Trenton police said.

Truck driver killed in wreck near Iowa Park

Iowa Park, TX — A Houston truck driver was killed Friday when his rig rolled on U.S. 287 about seven miles north of Iowa Park. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the driver as Fernando Gutierrez, 58. A Houston truck driver was killed in a wreck north of Iowa Park Friday. A preliminary investigation revealed Gutierrez’ truck swerved out of its lane. Gutierrez overcorrected, crossed both northbound lanes and rolled into the center median. Gutierrez was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.

State investigators identify Stone County, Ark., deputy killed in line of duty

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ark. (AP) – A Stone County, Ark., sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant, and a suspect is in custody, Arkansas State Police said Wednesday. State police said Stone County Deputy Justin Smith was shot Tuesday afternoon at a home about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Mountain View while trying to serve Clinton Hefton with a misdemeanor terroristic threatening warrant. Mountain View is about 112 miles southeast of Springfield. State police, which is investigating the shooting, said early evidence indicates that Hefton, 52, resisted arrest and shot at Smith. The deputy was found fatally shot by officers who responded to reports of shots fired.

Vail ski instructor dies after he was found unresponsive on intermediate slope

Vail, CO — A 69-year-old Vail ski instructor has died after he was found unresponsive on the ski area’s Born Free run Dec. 28. The man was transported to Vail Heath Hospital and then to Denver Health, where he died days later. “This is a challenging loss for our resort, our community, and especially our ski and snowboard school team. We share in your heartbreak, and we are sending our deepest sympathies to the employee’s family and to those who knew him best,” Greg Willis, Vail Mountain senior director of skier services, said in an emailed statement, which did not identify the instructor by name. The ski instructor’s death marks the third on-mountain fatality for a Vail Resorts employee since 2021. Scott Lewis, a 53-year-old zipline guide at the company’s Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, was killed on Sept. 23, 2021, when riding on the resort’s zipline. Christian Helger, a 29-year-old ski patroller at Park City Mountain Resort, died Jan. 2, 2023, when a tree fell on the cable of the Short Cut lift he was riding and ejected him into a ravine where he suffocated in deep snow.

Georgia deputy killed when struck by police car during chase in Alabama, officials say

CHAMBERS COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM/Gray News) – A Georgia law enforcement officer was killed while chasing suspect in Alabama early Thursday morning, officials said. Coweta County Deputy Sheriff Eric Minix was hit by a police vehicle while trying to apprehend a suspect who was believed to have stolen a vehicle, the department said in a Facebook post. “We have lost a good deputy. We have lost a good man. We have lost a good friend,” the department posted. The chase started around 2 a.m. in Georgia. The suspect was pursued south on Interstate 85 and across the Chattahoochee River into Chambers County, Alabama, where the crash happened. Minix was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

George County sheriff’s deputy shot, killed after traffic stop

George County, MS — A George County sheriff’s deputy died in the line of duty Thursday afternoon, and the man suspected of shooting him also was killed after leading authorities on a pursuit. The deceased deputy was identified as Jeremy Malone. Authorities say deputies stopped a car about 5:15 p.m. on Mississippi 98, near the intersection of Brushy Creek Road. Malone was shot and killed as part of that stop. The suspect then led authorities on a vehicle pursuit out of George County, where he was fatally shot by law enforcement as the pursuit ended. Both shootings are being investigated by the Mississippi Department of Investigations.


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