Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ANOTHER BACKOVER DEATH: Hemlock Township, PA road worker crushed to death by backing dump truck driven by one of his coworkers


A township worker was killed on the job Tuesday in Columbia County. Police say he was hit by a dump truck driven by one of his coworkers.

Officials in Hemlock Township say the crew members are all like a big family and this loss is hard to take. Joseph Benner, 60, of Catawissa, died on the job after he was hit by one of his coworkers.

According to police, the road crew is a small, tight-knit group of four men who were like family. Police are investigating the incident, but say the dump truck did not crash or veer off the road.

State police, Hemlock Township police, and firefighters spent most of the day at the scene of the deadly accident on Dahl Road near Bloomsburg.

Benner was part of the Hemlock Township road crew. The crew was cleaning ditches.

According to police, right before 11:30 a.m., Benner was hit and killed by a dump truck driven by another member of the crew. He died about an hour later.

The Columbia County coroner tells Newswatch 16 the dump truck was going backward at the time and Benner suffered several traumatic injuries.

Hemlock Township supervisor chairman Mark Morrow tells Newswatch 16 this is a huge loss for the community because the township employees are like family.

"We're a very close-knit community, very family oriented and there's only four people on our road crew and they take care of all of our township needs," said Morrow.

The man who hit Benner was a coworker and police say they were friends. Counselors were brought in for the men on the crew because they are all so tightknit.

"It's a tragic accident," said Morrow. "We'll get through it, we're a family. Our prayers are for this person's family."

The Columbia County coroner will do an autopsy Wednesday to figure out the exact cause and manner of death.

Backover deaths are very common but very preventable.  Terrible way to die on the job.