Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities is a non-profit organization that strives to bring awareness, memorialize the workers who have died on the job and to reach out to family members. Please contact us if we can be of any help to you.

Machinery Mishap Causes Worker's Death

February 28, 2015 - Milwaukee, WI - 33 year old Ryan Calkins of Brookfield was working on the Zoo Interchange Project in Milwaukee when he was killed on the job. Witnesses surmise his death was due to a piece of drilling machinery as they saw rescue personnel and others were gathered around the site. Calkins worked for Michels Corp. working alongside Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Worker Dies in Fall

August 18, 2015 - Henderson, TX - 55 year old Arthur Lee Kilgore of Diboll was working to install insulation at a restaurant in Henderson when he fell to his death. The insulation ripped, giving way and causing Kilgore to fall. He was employed by H. L. Nelson Construction.

Man Hit by Vehicle at Distribution Facility

September 15, 2015 - Braintree, MA - 74 year old Kenneth Montgomery was an employee for United Liquor, a distribution facility, when he was struck by a van at the facility.

Safety Officer Struck After Accident

September 15, 2015 - Miami, FL - 47 year old Andres Boligan was at the site of a motor vehicle accident helping to clear it when he was struck by a dump truck. He was a State Farm Safety Officer. The truck driver attempted to brake but the vehicle went out of control. Boligan was wearing a safety vest and his emergency vehicle had its lights on.

Equipment Causes Worker Death

September 16, 2015 - Waco, TX - 51 year old Terry Leon Lakey was crushed by a piece of equipment at the Terex facility he was employed with. He was servicing a hydraulic lift when he was crushed by it. The circumstances are unclear.

Argument Ends in Shooting

September 16, 2015 - Acworth, GA - 43 year old Douglas Bradley Eriquezzo worked at a local auto repair shop when he and another worker got into an argument outside the business. In a case of workplace violence, the other man pulled out a gun and shot Eriquezzo. The name of the business is not known.

Construction Worker Killed on Site

September 16, 2015 - Tampa, FL - 26 year old Kimbrough Haines III was working on a road construction project when he was struck by a dump truck. He was standing behind the dump truck when it started to back up. He was employed by Lane Construction.

Worker Suffers Probable Electrocution

September 17, 2015 - 30 year old Robert Ruhtr was working at a school construction site when he was possibly electrocuted, causing a heart attack. By the time first responders arrived, they found Ruhtr in full cardiac arrest. It is unknown who he was employed by.

Contractor Dies in Fall

September 17, 2015 - Braddock, PA - 44 year old Parrish Sewell of East McKeesport was a contract worker performing planned maintenance in a part of the US Steel, Edgar Thomson plant that is used in the basic oxygen steelmaking process. During his work he fell approximately 40 feet. Sewell was employed by Whistler Construction Inc.

Man Dies at Grain Facility

September 17, 2015 - Webberville, MI - 22 year old Joshua McGhee of Petersburg died when a wall collapsed at the Archer Daniels Midland grain storage facility in Webberville. He working as a contractor at the site when a wall collapsed, burying him in tons of grain and debris. His obituary states he worked for a railroad contractor, Industrial Railroad Services.

Tree Trimmer Struck by Car

September 18, 2015 - Santa Ana, CA - An unidentified Latino man died after being struck by a car while setting up safety cones for a tree trimming job.

Railway Incident Causes Death

September 18, 2015 - Ashdown, AR - 51 year old Velma Marie Perkins was a USW Local 1327 member, District 13 Women of Steel activist and a long time employee for Domtar Paper. According to reports high top rail cars beyond the normal size were entering a shed attached to a warehouse. The shed was built over the tracks to do switch engine maintenance with a personnel pit below. Unbeknownst to the crew the cars struck the shed structure resulting in Sister Perkins’ death.

Tree Trimmer Struck by Branch

September 19, 2015 - Amhurst, NY - 39 year old Christopher Gordan of Niagara Falls was a tree service worker working in Amhurst. He was in a tree cutting a large limb when a second limb became dislodged and knocked Gordan out of the tree. It is not known who he was employed by.

Freeway Worker Killed by Driver

September 19, 2015 - Oakland, CA - 33 year old Miguel Angel Rodriguez Delacruz was a construction worker for Caltrans working on a section of interstate when he was struck by a vehicle. According to police, a suspected drunk driver lost control of his vehicle, went across the freeway and into the construction zone, striking Delacruz.

Bouncer Shot by Patron

September 20, 2015 - Kansas City, MO - 46 year old Royce Jeffries was working security at Bob's Bar and Grill, also known as Bobs N Motion, when a fight broke out. Jeffries and another member of security tried to break up the fight and remove those involved from the club. According to reports, one man involved in the altercation returned to the scene with a gun and opened fire, killing Jeffries and wounding two others.

Worker Falls From Roof

September 21, 2015 - Chattanooga, TN - 65 year old Edwin "Earl" Morgan II of Ooltewah spent the majority of his life working in the construction field. On his job at TVA in Chattanooga he saw something that needed to be fixed. He climbed up 20 feet, lost his footing and fell into a culvert. He died later of his injuries. He was employed by Total Building Maintenance.

Young Worker Dies During Construction

September 21, 2015 - Duluth, MN - 18 year old Kelsey Hegenson of Stanley, WI was a part of a construction crew working on the Bong Bridge when he was fatally injured in a forklift incident. Details are unknown. He was employed by Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, WI.

Lawnmower Overturns, Kills Young Man

September 23, 2015 - Swansea, IL - 18 year old Conner Devan LaPointes of New Athens was killed on the job after an incident with a lawnmower he was operating. He had been cutting grass for an unnamed lawn company in-between residences when his co-worker lost track of him. He found the mower upside down in a pond and rescue workers found LaPointes under the mower.

Scrap Yard Worker Killed in Explosion

September 23, 2015 - Tucson, AZ - 46 year old Daniel Wright was killed on the job when an explosion occurred at Tucson Iron & Scrap Yard, which handles recycling materials. Under investigation is how a 500 pound MK-82 military bomb ended up at the scrap yard. When Wright began to cut it when it partially exploded.

EMT Dies in Crash of Ambulance

September 23, 2015 - Bergen, NY - 50 year old Barry Miller was chief of Fire Department Emergency Medical Services for Bergen. He was a passenger aboard an ambulance responding to a call when the ambulance struck the rear of a piece of heavy equipment. Sun glare and fog were contributing factors in the driver not being able to see the backhoe until too late. The driver and a crew member in the back were injured.

Worker Dies of Crushing Injuries

September 23, 2015 - Las Vegas, NV - 27 year old Joshua Richard Meade was a contract worker at UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center. He died of blunt force trauma and traumatic asphyxia when he was struck by a trench plate. A trench plate is a large heavy piece of metal used to cover holes in roads. It is unclear who he was employed with.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

We strive to honor and remember those workers who have been lost to a workplace incident and their family's as they navigate the many challenges they face. If you would like to connect with like-minded people, who have been in your shoes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Man Dies of Natural Causes

September 1, 2015 - Snohamish, WA - 75 year old Russell A. Groth was working at the family's business, Wintergreen Tree Farm, when he was found unresponsive after his shift ended by a family member. He had died of a natural cardiac event.

Worker Drowns

September 1, 2015 - Bellevue, WA - 51 year old Phillip Cruz was working alone when his co-workers lost track of him for about 10 minutes. When they found him, he was face down in the bottom of a water filled excavation pit. He was an employee for Bayley Construction.

Officer Dies of Gunshot Wound

September 1, 2015 - Fox Lake, IL - 52 year old Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz had planned to retire from the Fox Lake Police Department in late August, but was asked to stay on another month. While on duty, three men caught his eye and he radioed that he was on foot pursuit. Three minutes later he requested back up but then communication went silent. When back up arrived, they found Lt. Gliniewicz dead from a devastating gunshot wound to the chest. An ongoing investigation is under way by authorities.

Marine Died During Training

September 2, 2015 - Camp Legeune, NC - 31 year old Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lewis, of Fauquier, VA, was a Marine and part of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company B Marine Corps Security Force Regiment. He died in a hard landing of the Super Stallion Helicopter “while conducting Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques (HRST) training in a landing zone at Stone Bay,” near Camp Leguene, NC.

Wall Collapse Causes Worker's Death

September 3, 2015 - Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - 19 year old Fernando Venegas of Corona, Queens was at work at a construction site in Bed-Stuy when something went very wrong. Venegas was killed, and two other workers injured, when an unstable wall at the construction site collapsed. It is unclear who he was employed with.

Contract Worker Struck by Train

September 4, 2015 - Auburn, IN - An unidentified contractor for CSX was struck by a freight train that he did not see coming because it was blocked from view by a standing train. He was in the company of two CSX employees and did not know the other train was approaching, stepped around the standing train and in front of the moving train. Authorities would only say the victim was from Newfoundland in far eastern Canada and was working as part of an electronic rail testing crew.

Woman Dies of Natural Causes

September 4, 2015 - Pascagoula, MS - 53 year old Evelyn Richardson of Moss Point, an employee for Ingalls Shipbuilding, was found dead in her office. Her death was ruled natural causes.

Construction Worker Killed in Fall

September 4, 2015 - Taunton, MA - 24 year old Nicholas Dumont of Pawtucket, RI was working on the construction of a distributing warehouse and corporate facility when he died after falling approximately 40 feet at the site in Taunton. His obituary states that he was employed by MAS Building & Bridge, Inc.

Refinery Worker Drowns

September 5, 2015 - Port Arthur, TX - 66 year old Thomas Courts of Denton was operating a bulldozer inside the Total Port Arthur refinery when the dozer went into a pit filled with a high temperature chemical liquid. A coworker say the incident take place and immediately used his machine to pull the bull dozer from the pit. Courts died of exposure and drowning. He was a Kinder Morgan employee.

Heart Condition Causes Death

September 9, 2015 - Tacoma, WA - Marcus Michelsen was an employee of the payroll office at Pacific Lutheran University when he suffered a medical event while on break. He was taken to an area hospital when he died during surgery.

Power Company Worker Found Dead

September 10, 2015 - Kermit, TX - 49 year old Mark Ochoa was an employee for Oncor, a power company, when he died on the job. He was sent out on a power outage call and when he did not check in or respond to calls, another worker was sent to check on him. That worker found Ochoa unresponsive and pronounced by EMS. His exact cause of death is unknown.

Film Crew Member Dies in Crash

September 11, 2015 - San Francisco de Antioquia, Columbia - 54 year old David Purwin of the Los Angeles, CA area was a stunt pilot in Columbia to help with the filming of a new high action Hollywood film when the unthinkable happened. A small plane being used to transport crew members crashed on take off from a local airport. Another pilot from Columbia also died in the crash and another from Georgia was injured. It is unclear who was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.  Purwin was known for his work staging heart-stopping chases for the movies and also flew life saving missions for critically ill children. He was the founder and president of Helinet Technologies.

Worker Dies After Fall

September, 12, 2015 - Stauton, VA - 22 year old Dustin Hamilton Killen of Florence, AL was working on overhead wires in Augusta County when one sprung back and shredded the bucket off his truck, he then fell 83 feet to the ground. He also may have been electrocuted according to authorities. He was a Journeyman Lineman for Irby Construction.

Equipment Malfunction Causes Death, Injury

September 12, 2015 - Tulsa, OK - 43 year old Steve Shelton wasn't afraid of heights and loved working in the air. He worked in the amusement park industry for many years. Shelton and a coworker were in the air inspecting the SkyRide gondola ride at the Tulsa Fair when the bucket they were working from broke loose and fell. Both men were harnessed but Shelton suffered a life threatening head injury. The men worked for DCM Tulsa LLC, the operator of the SkyRide.

Man Dies From Fall

September 14, 2015 - Hyde Park, IL - An unidentified 38 year old man died as a result of falling from the top of a building under construction. Because most of the day's work was being done on the opposite end of the building, authorities said it was not clear if his death as an accident or suicide. It is unclear who he was employed with.

University Professor Murdered on Campus

September 14, 2015 - Cleveland, MS - 39 year old Ethan Andrew Schmidt was a history professor at Delta State University was shot in his office by a colleague at the school. It is unclear why the instructor murdered Schmidt, but it was also discovered he murdered his girlfriend earlier. After the murders, the man later committed suicide rather than be arrested.

Officer Dies Nearly a Year After Shooting

September 14, 2015 - McHenry, IL - 47 year old Dwight Maness, a McHenry Sheriff Deputy, was responding to a domestic dispute call last October 16, 2014 when a man opened fire, hitting the deputy several places. He had multiple surgeries and was feeling good about his recovery when he died during a rehabilitation session. The exact cause of his death is not known.

Road Side Worker Struck by Motorist

September 14, 2015 - Escondido, CA - 21 year old Leonardo "Leo" Sandoval of Murrieta was repairing sprinklers on the roadside when he was struck by a suspected drunk motorist. He worked for Pacific Restoration Group which had recently been contracted by Caltrans to landscape portions of the I-15 freeway. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Following are workers who we were not previously aware of.  Our hearts and thoughts are with the families who have suffered the loss. All listed are for August 2015.

August 1 - Louisville, OH - An unidentified worker was killed on the job after being involved in a motor vehicle collision. The worker was employed by MobilexUSA.

August 3 - Las Vegas, NV - Matthew Hunt was a worker on a bicycle and was killed in a motor vehicle collision. He was employed by Bike Blast Las Vegas.

August 4 - Columbus, OH - Verna Riffle was struck and killed by a dump truck tailgate while employed by Dalton Sealing and Paving.

August 4 - Paragould, AR - An unidentified employee for Wal-mart Distribution Center #6866 died after being crushed between a truck and the loading dock

August 5 - North Fork, CA - John Glenn was an employee for USDA Forest Service (Sierra National Forest) when he was struck and killed by a log while building a corral.

August 5 - Waycross, GA - Javier Avalos was struck and killed by a silo door while working for East Coast Asphalt LLC.

August 6 - Sun Valley, CA - Felimon Yanez-Ancya was an employee for Recology Los Angeles in Sun Valley when he was fatally struck by a truck.

August 7 - Chocowinity, NC - David Partte died on the job after being struck by a large waste container. He was employed by OBI Linings, Inc.

August 7 - Beloit, WI - Phillip Weldon was performing maintenance for his employer Clean Sweep Company when he was struck by a vehicle

August 7 - Carmi, IL - Jetzari Gonzalez and Hector Gonzalez were working for AS Professional Roofing when one was electrocuted and the other was hospitalized when a ladder contacted a power line.

August 7 - Elizabeth, NJ - Judy Jones was killed on the job when she was struck by a top loader machine while working for APM Terminals.

August 8 - Lutz, FL - Michael Casino was an employee for Panera Bread in Lutz when he died in a fall while performing food preparation.

August 9 - Selah, WA - An unidentified worker died after falling down stairs while working for Tree Top, Inc.

August 10 - Columbus, OH - Frank Guy was employed by Scott Wrecking C & D Landfill and died after he was struck by a tractor trailer.

August 10 - West Chester, OH - Keith Walker was killed on the job after falling from a roof while working for R & B Contractors LLC.

August 10 - Hopewell, VA - Ricky Wyche was an employee for Quality Specialties, Inc and died after being exposed to asbestos during abatement activities.

August 10 - Winchester, VA - Boyd Sherman Abell was fatally crushed when an elevated load fell from a forklift. He was employed by National Fruit & Product Co., Inc.

August 10 - Center, VT - Jerry Merrow was an employee for J.E.M. Home Improvements when he died on the job. He was on a roof when his ladder contacted an overhead power line and he was electrocuted.

August 10 - Locust Grove, GA - Nolberto Castro Garcia was killed on the job when the lawnmower he was operating overturned. He was employed by Eagles Brooke Golf Management LLC.

August 11 - Tampa, FL - Darryl Roberts was trimming a tree for Total Scapes, Inc. when he fell from a ladder and died.

August 11 - Woodlawn, IL - Quentin Campbell was an employee for Sawyer Tree Service, LLC when he died on the job after being struck by a falling tree.

August 11 - Itasca, IL - Philip Sanders was working for Liberatore Electric Company when he was electrocuted while working on underground wiring.

August 11 - San Pedro, CA - Rochelle Taylor was working for Eagle Marine Services and died in a collision between a tractor and truck.

August 11 - Pennington, AL - An unidentified employee for Burkes Mechanical, Inc. died of electrocution while hanging cable.

August 12 - Rison, AR - Chad Gaddis was struck and killed by a trailer being lifted by a log loader while working for Tracy Strange Logging.

August 12 - Romney, WV - Mark Haines was an employee for Belt Paving, Inc. when he was fatally crushed under the tracks of a milling machine.

August 13 - Alhambra, IL - An unidentified worker died on the job after falling from scaffolding while working for Walthes Waterproofing.

August 13 - Middleburg, PA - Moses Kanagy was killed on the job when he fell from scaffolding. He was employed by S.R. Silos.

August 13 - Pine Grove, WV - An unidentified employee for Jones Hauling, Inc. was struck and killed by a falling tree.

August 13 - Tyler, AL - An unidentified person died on the job after being struck by a tractor and baler while employed by Gene McCormick.

August 13 - View, CA - Angel Ferreira was trimming a palm tree when the tree collapsed, trapping him. He was employed by Eager Beaver.

August 13 - Massillon, OH - Earl Smoltz was working for Casey's Sales & Services, Inc. when he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer semi.

August 13 - Revere, MA - An unidentified employee of Caruso Construction and Equipment Company, Inc. was killed on the job when a dump truck tire exploded during inflation.

August 13 - El Paso, TX - Rodolfo Jaquez died on the job after falling from a roof. He was employed by Campos Roofing & Construction LLC.

August 13 - Albany, TX - An unidentified employee for Albany Chemical died after being caught in a pumping unit.

August 14 - Farmers Branch, TX - Pedro Rangel was struck and killed by a forklift while working for Venture Metals, LLC.

August 14 - Edenton, NC - Michael Rogers was working for McClain and Company, Inc. when he drowned after falling from a boat.

August 15 - San Marcos, TX - An unidentified employee of Sawman LLC was fatally electrocuted while repairing a generator.

August 15 - Fort Worth, TX - Emilio Ramirez was killed on the job when he fell from scaffolding inside a water tank.  He was employed by Blastco Texas, Inc.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities is a like minded group of people who have all lost someone to a work related incident. We are here to help in any way we can. Look for us on Facebook or our website

DOT Supervisor Struck by Equipment

August 20, 2015 - Missoula, MT - 45 year old Jason Rolls of Helena was working with two other Montana DOT employees on Highway 200, using equipment to mix sand and salt. The equipment wasn’t secured correctly and it gave way. The wheels began to move on the rig while Rolls was still standing nearby.

Wrecker Driver Killed in Crash

August 20, 2015 - Kingfisher, OK - 30 year old David Alan Moore was killed on the job after the wrecker he was driving crashed. The vehicle went off the right side of the road, back onto the roadway and off to the left. The wrecker rolled, stopping in a ditch. He was not wearing a seatbelt. It is unknown who he was employed with.

Sheriff's Deputy Dies After Encounter

August 20, 2015 - Houston, TX - 26 year old Tronski Dontel Jones, a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy, died in the early morning hours of what has been deemed natural causes after dealing with a combative inmate at the Baker Street Jail.  The inmate reportedly became argumentative and combative while being moved from one area back to his cell. Sources say that pepper spray used during the altercation may have played a role in the deputy's death. The sheriff says it's impossible to know the exact cause until an autopsy is complete.

Police Officer Struck by Motorist

August 24, 2015 - Bellevontaine, MO - 53 year old Sgt. Peggy Vassallo was an officer for the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department. She was on her way to work when she was involved in a two vehicle accident. As she was rendering aid to the other driver, another motorist entered the area at a high rate of speed and as they swerved around Sgt. Vassallo's vehicle, they struck her.

State Trooper Shot During Stop

August 24, 2015 - Lake Charles, LA - 43 year old Steven Vincent, a Senior Trooper with the Louisiana State Troopers was killed on the job when he was shot in the head by someone he felt needed assistance. Trooper Vincent noticed a pickup truck sideways, seemingly stuck in a ditch. As he approached the vehicle, the driver got out with a shotgun and opened fire on the officer. Other motorists who noticed what was going on raced to help and subdued the shooter until police arrived.

Man Dies After Fall From Scaffolding

August 24, 2015 - Fullerton, CA - 29 year old Elman Cano Carranza of Los Angeles died after falling from scaffolding at a construction site in downtown Fullerton. He fell onto construction equipment causing massive internal injuries. He died at a local hospital. His employer is unknown.

Trucker Dies in Crash

August 24, 2015 - Braceville, IL - 37 year old David Lee Conway Jr. of Warrenton, MO was operating his tractor trailer semi when another semi driver attempted to merge back into traffic after having stopped his rig. Conway's semi truck slammed into the back of the other semi, causing him to be ejected and his truck torn apart. Conway was an employee of 5 Star Logistics.

Worker Dies of Burns

August 24, 2015 - Beech Grove, IN - 27 year old Andrew Swanson of Fishers was burned at work on August 22. It is unknown how he was burned. He was working in the diesel department of the Amtrack Beech Grove Facility when the incident occurred. He was taken to a local hospital where he died of his injuries.

IndyCar Race Car Driver Dies

August 24, 2015 - Pocono, PA - 37 year old Justin Wilson, a British race car driver living in Longmont, CO died after being struck by debris during a pile up on the Pocono Raceway track. Wilson was struck in the head by a piece of debris that broke off another driver's car that crashed. Wilson tried to avoid the subsequent pileup, but his car hit the debris and veered into an interior wall. He was airlifted to a hospital where he was in a coma in critical condition before he died. His team's owner is Jeremy Dale in Colorado.

Worker Struck in Construction Incident

August 24, 2015 - Parlin, NJ - An unidentified worker was at the construction site of new homes in Parlin when he was struck by a large piece of equipment. Repeated attempts to locate his name or more information were unsuccessful.

Man Falls Down Elevator Shaft

August 25, 2015 - Manhattan, NY - An unidentified elevator mechanic died on the job when he plunged four stories down a shaft in a Hell’s Kitchen building. Police said he was wearing a hard hat but not a safety harness as he walked across wooden boards four stories up. The beam gave way right over the elevator shaft and he fell into several feet of standing water in the basement of the building.

Two Shot During Live TV Interview

August 26, 2015 - Roanoke, VA - 24 year old  Alison  Bailey Parker, and 27 year old Adam Ward were employees of WDBJ7 News in Roanoke when they were both gunned down by an angry ex-employee of the station. Parker, a reporter and Ward, her cameraman, were doing a live interview when the man walked up to the pair and began shooting. He also struck the woman being interviewed. The scene was caught on live camera but was quickly cut back to the news anchor.

Worker Dies at Construction Site

August 26, 2015 - Minneapolis, MN - 25 year old Jeramie Gruber of Northfield was working at the US Bank Stadium construction site when he fell to his death. Gruber slid down the roof and broke through a guardrail before falling to an elevated platform below. Another worker was injured in the incident. He was an employee for Berwald Roofing, a subcontractor for Mortensen Construction.

Officer Killed During Domestic Call

August 26, 2015 - Sunset, LA - 51 year old Henry Andrus Nelson, a Corporal with the Sunset Police Department, was shot to death when answering a call for a domestic dispute. He was the first responder to the scene, and police also found three woman who had been stabbed inside the home. One of the women died.

Worker Dies After Fall From Truck

August 26, 2015 - Prescott, WA - Manuel Flores Perez was an employee for Flat Top Ranch when he fell from the back of a moving pickup truck. He complained of knee pain but didn't want medical attention at the time. As he got worse his employer attempted to find treatment for him but was turned away because he was, by then, unconscious. It was later determined that he died of a brain bleed.

Police Officer Murdered in Ambush

August 28, 2015 - Houston, TX - 47 year old  Harris County, Texas Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth was killed on the job when he was ambushed and shot multiple times  from behind in an unprovoked attack as he pumped gas into his patrol vehicle while on duty. There is no explanation for his murder but the Sheriff feels the attack was due to the fact Goforth was a law enforcement officer.

State Trooper Killed in Crash

August 28, 2015 - Dardeene, MO - 25 year old James Matthew Bava of Mexico, MO was a Missouri State Patrol officer. He was killed while pursuing a motorcyclist that he had observed committing a traffic violation. It is unclear what caused his patrol vehicle to swerve off the side of the highway where it crashed into trees, overturned, and caught fire.

Motorcycle Officer Dies in Collision

August 28, 2015 - Fenton, MI - 38 year old Chad H. Wolf, a Michigan State Police Trooper died after his motorcycle collided with a car pulling a trailer. Trooper Wolf was crossing over the interstate when the car suddenly switched lanes causing Wolf to be thrown off his bike and he became trapped beneath the empty flatbed as the driver continued onto the interstate. He was dragged approximately four miles before motorists at a rest stop spotted the Trooper under the trailer.

Warehouse Worker Dies in Forklift Incident

August 30, 2015 - Harrisburg, PA - 40 year old James E. Brownawell died on the job as he as moving materials with a forklift at Dayton Parts in Harrisburg. He was operating a forklift to remove bundles of steel from shelving in the warehouse. He removed one bundle but in the process inadvertently dislodged a second bundle, causing it to jut out into the aisle. As he turned his forklift around to proceed down the narrow aisle he apparently didn't see the second bundle sticking out and three sections of steel penetrated his chest.

Worker Killed in Manufacturing Incident

August 31, 2015 - Danville, VA - 56 year old Jeanie Lynn Strader of Chatham was a 15 year associate for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Danville plant at the time of her death. She worked as a windup operator and roll changer at the plant. It is not clear what type of industrial incident occurred to cause her death. She was also a member of U.S.W. Local #831.

Man Falls From Water Tower

August 31, 2015 - Brownsville, TX - 21 year old Pedro Samuel Salazar was performing routine maintenance on a satellite antenna. According to the Brownsville Police Department, "somehow he lost his grip and fell to the ground". It is not known who he was employed by.

Heart Attack Claims Worker

August 31, 2015 - Seattle, WA - James "Twain" Hinderman was a sous chef at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was found in the restaurant's cooler by co-workers

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

For all who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a preventable work related incident, we are here to help you in whatever way we can. We are a group of like minded people who have suffered a similar loss so we understand.

Suspected Electrocution in Man's Death

August 18, 2015 - Norfolk, VA - 32 year old Steven "Vance" Weaver of Angier, NC was working on a new Tesla Motors electric supercharger station at the Janaf Shopping Center in Norfolk when he was apparently electrocuted.  Emergency personnel responded to a call about an unconscious person and found Weaver. He was working for Next Generation Solutions Inc. out of Clayton, NC. This was his first time working with a charging station.

Tree Care Worker Struck by Branch

August 18, 2015 - Sebastopol, CA - 21 year old David Mendoza of Santa Rosa was killed on the job when he was struck by a falling tree branch. The owner of North Bay Tree Care was up in the tree trimming branches, and Mendoza was on the ground, when he was struck by one of the branches.

Satellite Dish Installer Dies From Fall

August 19, 2015 - Knoxville, TN - 32 year old Brandon Avery Duncan died on the job when he fell from the roof of a private home. He was a satellite dish installer for an unnamed company working to install equipment when the homeowner saw him fall and called for emergency help.

Robbery Probable Motive for Murder

August 20, 2015 - Florissant, MO - 57 year old Alan Roach of St. Louis was a mechanic who was closing up shop when he was confronted by a suspected robber and was shot to death. He was working for Montgomery Auto Parts.

Security Guard Murdered

August 20, 2015 - Manhattan, NY - 53 year old Idrissa Camara was a security guard who offered to work an hour after his shift ended when he was shot to death at close range. Camara was working at a Manhattan federal building when, for an unknown reason or motive, a man who was a government employee walked up to Camara and shot him before committing suicide. He was an employee for FJC Security Services.

Worker Dies of Natural Causes

August 21, 2015 - Reno, NV - Scott "Spoono" Stephenson was a long time staffer with the Burning Man Department of Public Works. He was in the desert, working on the site for Black Rock City, an art and music event when reports state that he died of natural causes.

Man Struck by Falling Tree

August 21, 2015 - Allenville, PA - 21 year old Benuel Swarey was an Old Order Amish logger working for his father when he was struck by a falling tree limb. His father, who owned Pine Hollow Logging, and another man were cutting a tree when a large branch fell.

Worker Dies in Fall

August 21, 2015 - Chesterton, IN - 61 year old Kenneth Gish of Wanatah died in a fall while working at the Burns Harbor ArcelorMittal plant. He was working at the plant's basic oxygen furnace when he fell from scaffolding. He was transported to a local hospital where he died.

Man Dies, Caught in Machinery

August 22, 2015 - Enid, OK - 55 year old Gary Hobbs, a millwright from Canton, TX, was working at a grain elevator leased by Northern Ag Services when he was killed on the job. He was working on some equipment but did not exit in time. He was carried to the top of the conveyor system, where he was crushed.

Woman Dies of Stab Wounds

August 23, Colonie, NY - 32 year old Jacquelyn Porreca of Albany was a hair stylist at Recycled Salon when she was attacked during a robbery attempt at the salon. She was stabbed in the throat and died later at a local hospital.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Our country loses far too many hard working people every day. Our hearts go out to the families who are or have faced a work related tragedy. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

Heat Blamed in Worker's Death

July 19, 2015 - Haltom City, TX - 25 year old Roendy Granillo was found by co-workers passed out at a construction site where they were working. He was transported to an area hospital where he died of heat stroke. His employer is not listed.

Officer Shot During Routine Stop

August 1, 2015 - Memphis, TN - 33 year old Sean Bolton, an officer for the Memphis Police Department, pulled in front of a car that was parked illegally, illuminating the vehicle with his spotlight. Bolton approached the car and was confronted by a passenger. A struggle ensued, ending when the passenger shot Bolton multiple times. Officer Bolton apparently interrupted some sort of drug transaction due to the drug paraphernalia found in the vehicle.

Officer Killed Responding to Call

August 5, 2015 - Shreveport, LA - 29 year old Shreveport Police Officer Thomas Joseph LaValley was dispatched to a house where people alerted him to a man inside who might have a warrant out for his arrest. LaValley was wearing his patrol uniform and after entering the house, told the suspect to show his hands but the man opened fire. He was transported to an area hospital where he died. The suspect was arrested and charged.

Ranch Hand Dies in Crash

August 8, 2015 - Auburn, CA - 50 year old Elder Guerra was a ranch hand on a private ranch on Rincon Way. He was driving an ATV down a steep roadway when he possibly lost control of the vehicle and it overturned down the hill, landing on him. Others on the ranch noticed he was missing and found him during their search. The name of the ranch is unknown.

Firefighter Struck by Falling Tree

August 8, 2015 - Placerville, CA - 21 year old Michael Hallenbeck of Shingle Springs was in his first year as a member of the US Forest Service's Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. It was also the first time he had fought a wild fire. He died on that first day when he was struck by a falling tree while fighting a fire south of Echo Summit in the El Dorado National Forest.

Road Worker Struck by Equipment

August 10, 2015 - Poth, TX - 66 year old Salvador Guillen of New Braunfels was killed on the job during a repaving project near Poth. He was struck by a piece of heavy equipment. He was employed by the New Braunfels based Dean Word Company working with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Man Dies in Vehicle Crash

August 13, 2015 - Carrollton, VA - 50 year old Richard Davis Wilkins of Windsor was killed on the job when his Dominion Power Freightliner truck struck a tree. It is suspected he had a medical event which caused him to drive off the roadway.

Man Dies in Trench Collapse

August 14, 2015 - Fort Dodge, IA - 49 year old William "Butch" Paterson of rural Otho was part of a crew installing sewer line as part of a renovation and expansion project in Fort Dodge when he was buried by about 20 feet of a three foot wide trench collapsed on him. He was employed by Riley-Armstrong Plumbing and Heating.
Authorities do not have a cause for the collapse at this time.

Two Men Die in Construction Incident

August 15, 2015 - Ellicott City, MD - 31 year old Rolando Lopez Mendez of Silver Springs and 31 year old Erik Morales Ortiz of Hyattsville were working from an aerial lift machine on a construction project in Ellicott City. They were both thrown from the bucket of the lift when it tipped over. Both were taken to an area hospital where they were pronounced dead. The men worked for Brothers Construction and Framing.

Workers Exposed to Toxic Chemical, One Dies

August 15, 2015 - Spokane, WA - 44 year old Edward K. Dumaw of Spokane Valley was one of eight workers who were exposed to chlorine gas that was released from a 1-ton cylinder August 12. The cylinder was punctured while crushing it for scrap metal, releasing the gas. Dumaw was the only worker who died from respiratory distress following the exposure. Pacific Steel and Recycling does not accept anything under pressure so they are searching for the person who recycling the cylinder and if they knew what it contained.

Army Golden Knight Dies in Jump

August 16, 2015 - Chicago, IL - 32 year old Sgt. 1st Class Corey Keith Hood of Cincinnati, OH was a seasoned member of the Army Golden Knights parachute team. He died after a mid-air collision at the Chicago Air and Water Show. He was injured August 15 when he collided in midair with a member of the Navy Leap Frogs team during a "bomb burst" movement in which they circle each other as red smoke swirls around them. After the collision and Hood's emergency chute deployed, he clipped a building as he fell.

Mid Air Collision Causes Four Deaths

August 16, 2015 - Otay Mesa, CA - A mid-air collision between a Sabreliner business jet and a light plane on approach to the Brown Field Municipal Airport caused the deaths of four aboard the jet and the pilot of the light plane who was practicing touch and go landings at the airport.
Sixty-six year old James Henry Hale of Adelanto, CA was the co-pilot of the Sabreliner jet and was a contract employee for military contractor BAE Systems. Thirty-four year old John Kovach, 40 year old Carlos Palos and 41 year old Jeff Percy, all of Mojave, CA were all BAE Systems employees who were taking part in a customer training project at the time of the crash.

Worker Dies After Lift Tips Over

August 17, 2015 - Taunton, MA - 48 year old Kevin Miranda of Somerset died on the job when a construction lift he was on tipped over. Miranda was working for the Taunton-based Skyline Contracting and Roofing, which was conducting an inspection on a large smokestack behind an elementary school in Taunton. Miranda was killed when the lift, owned by NES Rentals, tipped over at the work site, which was on a slope.

Worker Dies From Fall

August 17, 2015 - Madison, WI - 25 year old Christopher Michael Lord was set to marry his sweetheart on August 22nd. A week before his marriage he died after falling 60 feet on the construction site of a future apartment building in Madison.  Lord had worked as a carpenter for McGann Construction for about three years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Our thoughts are with all who have been affected by a workplace death of a loved one. We are here to help in any way. Please visit to view our tributes to other lost workers.

Maintenance Worker Found Deceased

July 29, 2015 - Seattle, WA - Benito Rullan was a maintenance mechanic working at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel when he was found collapsed. It was ruled a natural cause death from heart failure.

Construction Worker Falls Through Skylight

August 1, 2015 - Las Vegas, NV - 49 year old Porfirio Gonzalez-Huerta was on the construction site of a new charter school when he fell to his death. He was a plumber for an unnamed company working on drains and air conditioning units when he fell through a skylight, striking his head on the ground.

Firefighter Caught in Blaze

August 1, 2015 - Modoc National Forest, CA - 38 year old David "Dave" John Ruhl from Rapid City, SD was a firefighter for the Black Hills National Forest who was killed on the job while battling a forest fire in California. He was on voluntary assignment to help fight the "Frog Blaze" in the Modoc National Forest near Alturas, CA. He was scouting the fire zone in a vehicle on a forest road when he the blaze suddenly grew and trapped him.

Allergic Reaction Causes Worker's Death

August 3, 2015 - Riverside, CA - 49 year old Douglas Queen of Los Angeles was working with a crew that was grading a space for a new parking lot and, unbeknownst to them, they ran their blade over an underground sprinkler box that housed this hive of bees. The bees swarmed and stung three workers, causing a deadly allergic reaction in Queen. He was employed by JDI Electrical Solutions of Perris.

Man Buried Under Heavy Equipment

August 3, 2015 - New Town, ND - 65 year old William Makela of Harrisville, MI was killed on the job when he was trapped under a piece of heavy equipment. Witnesses said gravel slid off of a pile, knocking him off his feet before burying him under a loader.

Gold Miner Killed in Incident

August 3, 2015 - Elko, NV - 26 year old Jason Potter of Lava Hot Springs, ID was found unresponsive in an underground gold mine he was working in. He had been operating a "jumbo drill" at the SSX Mine near Elko and it is believed he was trying to move the machine. He was found next the drill, which was against the rib wall, the engine running and transmission in reverse gear. It is thought that he was struck by the drill. He was directly employed by Small Mine Development.

Medical Center Employee Dies a Natural Death

August 4, 2015 - Burien, WA - Megersa Kebebe was an employee for Burien Nursing and Rehab who was found slumped in a chair in the break room. It was determined to be a natural death.

Bulldozer Operator Dies in Rollover

August 4, 2015 - Union, PA - 54 year old Ricky L. Dettman of Falls City, NE was a pipeline worker who died on the job when a machine he was operating rolled on top of him. He was operating a dozer on a steep grade when it rolled down the hill, overturning several times before coming to rest right side up. Dettman was part of a construction crew working on a 36-inch natural gas pipeline to take natural gas out of the Utica Shale delivering it to markets around the country. He was employed by a subcontractor for Regency Energy Partners.

Man Dies in Trench Collapse

August 4, 2015 - Parkman Township, OH - 54 year old Thomas Michael Evers died on the job when he was buried in a 10 foot deep trench that collapse. Evers, a road superintendent for Parkman Township, and another worker were in the trench working on a storm drain when the sides collapsed. His co-worker was not injured.

Silo Collapse Buries Worker

August 4, 2015 - Ashburn, VA - 18 year old Daniel Potter of Front Royal was emptying an 80 foot silo containing mineral filler for asphalt when the silo split open sending the material down onto Potter. It took a search team about 11 hours to locate him. Potter was an employee for Luck Stone Leesburg Quarry.

Office Manager Found Deceased

August 5, 2015 - Stanwood, WA - Cynthia Swanberg , the manager of Lake Goodwin RV Park, was found unresponsive in the park's office. It was determined she died of natural causes.

Airmen Die in Mid Air Collision

August 5, 2015 - Valparaiso, FL - 32 year old  Tech Sgt. Timothy Alan Officer, Jr. (left) and 35 year old Tech Sgt. Marty Benjamin Bettelyoun, both of Fort Walton Beach, FL, died in a special tactics freefall parachute training incident. Both men were from the 24th Special Operations Wing based in Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Man Crushed to Death

August 5, 2015 - Waycross, GA - 35 year old Concepcion Zacatenco Hernandez Jr. of Douglas was crushed to death in an industrial incident at an asphalt plant. He was performing welding work on an asphalt silo when reports say his safety equipment failed and he was crushed. He was an employee of East Coast Asphalt.

Recycling Worker Struck by Truck

August 6, 2015 - Sun Valley, CA - An unidentified employee for a recycling company was fatally struck by a truck on the job. It is not clear who he worked for and attempts to locate his/her name has been unsuccessful to date.

Angry Mother Kills Social Worker

August 7, 2015 - Barre, VT - 48 year old Lara Sobel was a case worker for the State of Vermont, Dept. of Child and Family Services. She was murdered outside the state offices by a woman who lost custody of her daughter and apparently blamed Sobel for her involvement. The suspect, who had a long history of custody issues, was tackled to the ground by bystanders who watched in horror as Sobel was shot twice. The suspect also murdered her two cousins and their mother due to their involvement in the custody issue.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

For those who may not know about USMWF, we are a group of individuals, family members, who have also suffered the loss of a loved one at work. If we can help you in any way, using the resources we have, please let us know.

Construction Worker Dies in Fall

July 22, 2015 - Vance, AL - 53 year old Jeffery Grey Merchant of Reform died on the job when he fell off a roof at a construction site at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance. It appears he was working on a metal roof for the Hazmat building under construction when he fell 25 feet, hit a concrete slab and died on the scene. It is not known who he was employed by.

Lineman Electrocuted

July 23, 2015 - Spring Lake, NC - 47 year old Mitchell Williams of Godwin was working with a crew to move power lines to accommodate the wideningh of a road way. He was working from an elevated bucket to reconnect a transformer when he was electrocuted. His co-workers quickly cut power and lowered the bucket. He was an employee for Lee Electrical Construction.

Contractor is Electrocuted at Steel Plant

June 23, 2015 - Ashland, KY - 47 year old Dwayne Eugene Walters of Hico, WV was a Seimens contractor at the AK Steel Ashland Works performing specialized electrical tests at the plant when he came into contact with a live wire and was electrocuted.

EMT is Killed in Crash

July 25, 2015 - East Brunswick, NJ - 22 year old Hinal Patel of Piscataway was working her last shift as an EMT before starting graduate medical school. The North Stelton Volunteer Fire Company EMT was responding to a call to East Brunswick when a car sped through an intersection, crashing into and causing the ambulance she was in to overturn.

Father & Son Farmers Die of Exposure

July 25, 2015 - Cylinder, IA - 58 year old Eugene "Gene" Opheim (photo left) and his son, 32 year old Austin Opheim were working on the family farm when a terrible incident took both of their lives. The men were repairing a piece of farm equipment when a piece of it fell into a pig manure pit. Austin attempted to retrieve it but was quickly overcome by the toxic fumes. Gene then attempted to rescue his son but was also overcome by the fumes inside the pit. 

Steel Plant Employee Crushed

July 25, 2015 - Huger, SC - 41 year old Lisandro Carlo Triulzi of Spring, TX was working at the Huger Nucor Steel Plant when he was crushed between two pieces of moving equipment. Details were not given as to how or why he was pinned by the equipment.

Heart Condition Contributes to Death

July 29, 2015 - Staten Island, NY - 37 year old Sgt. Frank Musella was a sanitation enforcement officer for the Department of Sanitation when his heart problem caused his death. He had been on patrol, returning to his work location. He went out to his city car and was later found unresponsive in the vehicle. It was determined that he died of heart disease.

Man Killed in Wood Chipper Incident

July 29, 2015 - Davenport, IA - 28 year old Byron Mayeux of Milan was an employee for an unnamed tree service company that was hired to clear brush from a residential property. Details are not clear but he died after being pulled into a wood chipper.

Man Dies After Toxic Exposure

July 29, 2015 - Cleveland, OH - An unidentified worker died on the job after being exposed to toxic fumes while refinishing a bathtub.

Worker Dies Falling From Bucket

July 30, 2015 - Northampton, PA - 42 year old Rodney Hunsicker, Jr. of Lehighton died after he was ejected from a elevated bucket while working for Rick's Tree Service of Ivyland. He had attached a cut limb to the boom and moved it from the back yard to the street. The weight of the limb caused the bucket to overturn ejecting him and then he was struck by the boom.

Man Dies in Dorm Fire

July 30, 2015 - Jackson Hole, WY - 28 year old Anthony Graviano died of smoke inhalation and four others were injured when a fire broke out in a dorm room in Colter Bay in the Grand Teton National Park. It is not known where Graviano called home but some say Florida or Pennsylvania. Attempts to locate that information has been unsuccessful.  He was an employee for the Grand Teton Lodge Company.

Man Crushed by Dump Truck

July 30, 2015 - Kenner, LA - 63 year old Albert Brooks of Metairie was killed on the job while working on a dump truck with the bed lifted. Reports state that a support for the lift broke causing the bed to fall down on him. He was working for Bennet Trucking of Kenner at the time of his death.

Sewer Worker Dies in Trench

July 31, 2015 - Longmeadow, MA - 28 year old Davide Santos Nascimento of Ludlow was working with a crew on a sewer replacement project in Longmeadow when a water main broke and filled the trench he was working in. He was employed with A. Martins & Sons, a subcontractor for Longmeadow Public Works at the time of his death.

Fireworks Explosion Kills One

July 31, 2015 - Palo Duro State Park, Canyon, TX - 21 year old Peyton Trueblood of Tuscaloosa, AL was an assistant stage manager for the show "Texas" being performed at the Pioneer Amphitheatre. Trueblood was killed on the job when about 1,600 pounds of fireworks exploded in a storage building. She was certified to handle fireworks used in the production.  The Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation was producing the show.

Worker Dies in 30 foot Fall

July 31, 2015 - Greenville, SC - 44 year old Ascension Molina Medina died of blunt force trauma to the chest when he fell from the fourth story of a building under construction. He was wearing a safety harness but reports state he unhooked it to move to another location when he fell. However, that has not been show to be the true cause for his fall. He was working on a mixed used development project called Main + Stone, but his actual employer is not known.

Toll Worker Struck by Vehicle

July 31, 2015 - Auburn, MA - 61 year old Vasilios "Bill" Pappas of Holden was making his way across the Massachusetts Turnpike so he could take a break in the tollbooth building. At other locations he could have used a tunnel to walk safely to the break building but it was not available at his location. As he made his way across the highway, lane by lane, he was struck and killed in the EZ Pass lane. He was a Teamster out of Local 127 working for the MassDOT. 

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