Thursday, May 18, 2017

TERRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Millersville University groundskeeper Michael L. Keefer, 60, burned to death when he was on a riding lawn mower near Biemesderfer Stadium and the lawn mower cought fire

Millersville University groundskeeper dies after fire involving lawn mower


A longtime Millersville University groundskeeper died after being injured in a fire on campus, university President John Anderson said in a emailed message to faculty, staff and students today.

He wrote that Michael L. Keefer, 60, "was on a riding lawn mower near Biemesderfer Stadium when the fire occurred" and was rushed to Lancaster General Hospital and then transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he died about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The Lehigh County Coroner's office said Thursday afternoon that the Keefer's cause of death was thermal injuries, and the manner of death was deemed an accident, although investigation continues. It performed the autopsy because because Keefer died in Lehigh County.

Keefer was a groundskeeper for Millersville since 1990, according to the university, and Anderson noted that counseling is available to help employees through this difficult time.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, two sons and their family," he wrote.

"What we know is that Mike was mowing, there was a fire involving the mower and Mike was severely injured. At this point we don't know what started the fire," university spokeswoman Janet Kacskos said in an email.

She said employees are "in a state of shock," and that she believes Keefer's is the first employee death ever on campus.

The fire happened Wednesday afternoon, prompting the university to send a campus alert asking people to avoid the area at 2:39 p.m., according to Kacskos. She said there was no damage to any structures.

Patrick Weidinger, Millersville's director of safety & environmental health, will head up the university's investigation into the cause of the accident, and the state fire marshal will also do an investigation, she said.

Kacskos said she did not hear any reports of an explosion or witnesses to the incident.

Dave Olah, area director for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, said it investigates workplace deaths for federal and private employees but, because Millersville is a state institution, will not be involved in this one.

Unlucky driver Jerome Muhlenberg crushed to death by falling huge oak tree in Upper Nyack, NY

UPPER NYACK, Rockland County (WABC) -- A 80-year-old man was killed when a tree fell onto his car in Upper Nyack Thursday.

He was found around 7:30 a.m. on North Broadway in front of the Upper Nyack Elementary School.

The 2012 Honda Accord was completely covered by the fallen tree, according to the Clarkstown Police Department.

The victim, Jerome Muhlenberg from Upper Nyack, was declared dead at the scene, police said.

The elementary school canceled classes. About 400 students who arrived at the school were sent to Nyack High School.

Orange and Rockland utilities were working to clean up downed wires and cut off power to the area.

The federal government sued UnitedHealth Group alleging the Minnetonka-based health care company wrongly received from Medicare at least $1 billion in “risk adjustment” payments based on inaccurate data submissions

Feds sue UnitedHealth alleging at least $1 billion in false claims
The government's complaint comes in a whistleblower case brought by a former employee in Minnesota.

By Christopher Snowbeck Star Tribune
May 17, 2017 — 7:35am

Glen Stubbe - Star Tribune file UnitedHealth Group Headquarters in Minnetonka.

The federal government sued UnitedHealth Group on Tuesday alleging the Minnetonka-based health care company wrongly received from Medicare at least $1 billion in “risk adjustment” payments based on inaccurate data submissions.

The government took issue with what it called “one-sided” chart reviews that focused on maximizing taxpayer dollars to the nation’s largest health insurer, but didn’t correct errors that allegedly inflated the company’s revenue, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Risk adjustment payments are made to private insurers that operate “Medicare Advantage” plans, which are an increasingly popular way for beneficiaries to obtain their government health insurance benefits. Tuesday marked the second time in a few weeks that the Justice Department filed a complaint against UnitedHealth over allegations of inflated risk adjustment payments.

“The primary goal of publicly funded health care programs like Medicare is to provide high-quality medical services to those in need — not to line the pockets of participants willing to abuse the system,” said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown in a news release.

In an earlier statement, United Health spokesman Matthew Burns said, “we are confident our company and our employees complied with the government’s Medicare Advantage program rules, and we have been transparent with [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] about our approach under its unclear policies. We reject these claims and will contest them vigorously.”

UnitedHealthcare, which is the company’s health insurance division, is the nation’s largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans.

The federal government’s civil fraud action comes in a whistleblower case first brought by a former UnitedHealth Group employee named Benjamin Poehling who worked for the company in the Twin Cities. The government said it would join the case in February, at which point Poehling’s initial lawsuit was made public.

In March, the federal government said it would join a second whistleblower case against UnitedHealth that raised similar allegations about risk adjustment payments in Medicare, which is the massive federal health insurance program covering Americans age 65 and older.

Earlier this year, the federal government disclosed it had ongoing investigations about risk adjustment practices at four other carriers including Aetna and a division of Cigna. Rules for how payments should be risk adjusted for patient illnesses have been controversial in the past, with UnitedHealthcare suing the federal government in January 2016 over a change in guidance on how to assess the health status of enrollees.

Last month, a federal judge ruled the UnitedHealthcare lawsuit against the government could proceed, despite efforts to have the case tossed out on procedural grounds.

In Medicare Advantage plans, the government pays health insurers a per-member per-month payment for enrollees. The government says the fees can be increased when health plans submit information about an enrollee’s health that justifies a higher “risk score” for the patient.

The adjustments are meant to make sure Medicare Advantage plans are paid more for enrollees expected to incur higher health care costs.

To make sure Medicare doesn’t make erroneous payments to health plans, the government says information about diagnoses must be supported by the patient’s medical records.

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday highlighted UnitedHealth’s program to review charts, calling it a “one-sided revenue-generating program.”

The insurer collected “millions of medical records” and employed chart reviewers “in order to mine for diagnoses that the providers themselves did not report to United for their patients,” the lawsuit states. “United used the results of the chart reviews to only increase government payments ... while in bad faith systematically ignoring other information from the chart reviews which would have led to decreased payments.”

It goes on to say: “Since at least 2005, United has known that a significant percentage of diagnoses reported by providers to it … are invalid because the beneficiaries’ medical records do not substantiate that the beneficiaries had the medical conditions identified by the diagnosis codes reported by the providers.”

The claims asserted against UnitedHealth are allegations only, the federal government said in a statement, adding that there has been no determination of liability.

Whistleblower cases alleging false claims are brought by “relators” such as Poehling, the former UnitedHealth employee, on behalf of the federal government. They are designed to recover funds for the government, with relators receiving a portion of the recoveries.

A house in Woodbury, MN gutted by a fire triggered by a lightning strike that shook the entire neighborhood

WOODBURY, Minn. - A home in Woodbury is being called unlivable after being gutted by a fire triggered by a suspected lightning strike.

Fire Commander John Wallgren says engines were dispatched just before 4:30 a.m. on reports of a fire. When firefighters arrived flames were leaping from the roof of the home on the 9400 block of Wentlock Road. Residents said a lightning strike that shook the entire neighborhood was to blame.

Crews entered the house and tried to fight the fire from inside, but flames soon leapt across the entire roof line, forcing firefighters to attack from above with two ladder trucks. The fire was put down in 20 minutes but the amount of water crews were forced to put in the roof resulted in severe water damage inside the home.

Wallgren also said a very active storm was taking place when fire crews responded, and firefighters had to suit up in a torrential downpour with lightning and thunder all around them.

The homeowner is currently out of town, so no evacuations had to be made. Woodbury's wasn't the only fire department that was busy overnight. Other lightning-related fire calls were made all across the metro.


WOODBURY, MN — Woodbury and Cottage Grove crews responded to a fire on Wentlock Road in Woodbury Tuesday morning. A cloud-to-ground lightning strike is the presumed cause. No one was injured in the fire, according to Woodbury fire officials 

Hit-and-run crash causes Lancaster Mennonite school bus to overturn, injuring 15 students, 1 critical, in East Lampeter Township, PA

LINDSEY BLEST | Staff Writer
May 17, 2017 Updated May 17, 2017

Police say more than a dozen people were injured after a hit-and-run driver caused a four-vehicle crash involving a Lancaster Mennonite school bus Wednesday morning in East Lampeter Township.

East Lampeter Township Police Chief John Bowman said 14 students and the bus driver were taken to Lancaster General Hospital. The driver of another car was also injured.

Lancaster General Health spokeswoman Mary Ann Eckard said students taken to LGH were between the ages of 7 and 16.

Eckard said three students were trauma patients and the rest of the injuries were minor.

Just before noon, Eckard said 12 students, the bus driver and the driver of another vehicle were discharged from LGH.

An 8-year-old boy is "very seriously hurt," district attorney's office spokesman Brett Hambright said late Wednesday afternoon.

The boy was airlifted from Lancaster General Hospital to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Another student was transferred to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Eckard said. That child's condition was not available.

The crash happened just before 8 a.m. on Lincoln Highway East just east of Route 896, according to Bowman.

Police described the accident as a hit-and-run and are looking for the driver of the car that left the scene.

Bowman described the car as a white sedan, possibly newer, with front end damage. Bowman said the male driver has short hair. Police have no license plate information.

"There’s a very good possibility that this vehicle, as it was traveling eastbound prior to the accident scene, may have been passing other vehicles," Bowman said.

Bowman said the eastbound car tried to pass a tractor-trailer carrying an over-sized load and the rig's escort car, also traveling east. It hit the escort car and set off a "chain-reaction accident," Bowman said.

The escort car hit the tractor-trailer and then the westbound school bus, he said. The impact caused the bus to roll, pinning one child underneath, officials said.

The bus was carrying 12 high school students, one middle school student and one Locust Grove elementary student, according to Lancaster Mennonite spokesman Gary Hiller.

The students had been picked up at four locations in Chester County, and the bus was going to drop them off at the main campus at 2176 Lincoln Highway East, about a mile from the accident.

Police said late Wednesday afternoon they were continuing to search for the driver of the sedan and said they will provide an update on the investigation Thursday morning. Anyone with information should contact East Lampeter Township police at 717-291-4676.

An email describing the crash was sent to Lancaster Mennonite school parents, Hiller said.

"Our focus has been on the physical and emotional well-being of our students rather than the cause and who is responsible," Hiller said. "We express concern for the two who are still in the hospital."


6-year-old boy 'struggling for his life' after school bus crash; police searching for driver

15 students hospitalized after school bus crash in Pa.

Police near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are searching for a driver who authorities say set in motion a crash that tipped a school bus on its side, sending 16 people to the hospital and leaving a 6-year-old boy "struggling for his life." 

Police said four vehicles were involved in the Wednesday morning crash: a tractor trailer, an escort vehicle for the tractor trailer, the missing car and the school bus. 

Police said the unknown driver hit the back of the escort vehicle in East Lampeter Township, about 65 miles west of Philadelphia. The escort vehicle was then pushed into another lane, side-swiping the school bus. 

The collision tipped the bus on to its side and trapped one student underneath; the student was transported to the hospital via helicopter, police said.
PHOTO: Students and a bus driver were hospitalized after a school bus crashed in East Lampeter Township , Pa., May 17, 2017.WPVI
Students and a bus driver were hospitalized after a school bus crashed in East Lampeter Township , Pa., May 17, 2017.
Fourteen students, the school bus driver and the driver of the escort vehicle were hospitalized, a Lancaster General Hospital spokesperson said. Both adults and 12 of the students have since been released, a hospital spokesperson said today. 

The remaining two students have been transferred to other hospitals for further treatment. 

A 6-year-old boy is considered a critical patient with serious injuries, officials said. While the patient had "some improvement," Lancaster County District Attorney's Office spokesman Brett Hambright said this morning the boy is still "struggling for his life." 

A 16-year-old boy is expected to be released from the hospital today, officials added.
PHOTO: Students and a bus driver were hospitalized after a school bus crashed in East Lampeter Township , Pa., May 17, 2017.WPVI
Students and a bus driver were hospitalized after a school bus crashed in East Lampeter Township , Pa., May 17, 2017.
Police are looking for the missing driver who "essentially set this crash into motion," Hambright said. 

The missing car appears to be a light-colored sedan, possibly a white Chevrolet Malibu, Hambright said. The front of the vehicle could be damaged, he noted, adding that the car may also have driver's side damage. Surveillance video from a business captured an image of what is believed to be the wanted car.
Hambright said authorities want to speak with the driver. 

"That side of the story is very important to us," East Lampeter Township Police Chief John Bowman said. "It's pretty much all hands on deck to locate the vehicle and hopefully have a conversation with the driver." 

Bowman said the police department has received a large number of tips and he encouraged anyone with information to come forward. 

The students involved in the crash were from the Lancaster Mennonite School, police said. 

The Lancaster Mennonite School said in a statement on Facebook this morning, "Thank you for your prayers as our school community continues to heal, physically and emotionally, from Wednesday’s bus accident." 

"Several pastors are at the Locust Grove Campus today having prayer with the students," the school said. "School is operating normally, although prayer and support will be infused throughout the day. School counselors are available, as always, to help in times of crisis."

Motorcycle thefts are on the rise, and California, for the second year in a row, is the top state for stolen bikes.

Motorcycle thefts are on the rise, and California, for the second year in a row, is the top state for stolen bikes.

The annual theft report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows bike thefts rose 2% nationally in 2016. A total of 46,467 motorcycles were reported stolen, up from 45,555 in 2015.

A shocking number of them disappeared in California, where 7,506 motorcycles were reported taken — compared with 4,482 stolen in Florida and 3,692 in Texas, the next most troublesome territories.

Los Angeles was the fourth-most-plagued city, after New York, San Diego and Las Vegas, while Los Angeles County was the top county.

The NICB study revealed that the bulk of motorcycle thefts occur during the summer months, when more bikes are on the street and when more people enjoy riding.

August was the top month, when almost twice as many motorcycles were reported stolen than in December or January.

Not in California, though, where warmer weather allows for year-round riding and stealing. In the Golden State, thefts remain more or less constant through all four quarters.

Some bikes are more popular targets than others — or are simply easier to steal. Here are the top major brands whose bikes are most likely to be stolen; a disproportionate number are Japanese manufacturers.
  • Honda
  • Yamaha
  • Kawasaki
  • Suzuki
  • Harley-Davidson
  • KTM
  • Ducati
  • BMW

The recovery rate for stolen bikes isn’t encouraging, according to the NICB report. Only about 18,000 of the 46,467 motorcycles reported stolen in 2016 were returned to their owners. The NICB report didn’t say what condition they were in when they came home.

The recovery rate in California, however, was higher than the national average. About 42% of stolen bikes here found their way back to their owners.

The New York rate, at 19%, was the lowest in the nation. (The highest: Hawaii, at 94%. It may be harder to hide a bike on an island than elsewhere.)

By brand, Hondas were recovered at a higher rate than any other. Honda owners had about twice as good a chance of getting their bikes back than owners of Ducatis, which had only a 29% chance of coming home.

1 female pedestrian killed, at least 22 injured when drunk/drugged Navy Vet driver Richard Rojas, 26, jumped the curve in Times Square and plowed through a crowd of pedestrians

One person was killed and at least 22 were injured on Thursday when a car careened through Times Square and plowed through a crowd of pedestrians in one of New York City’s most congested corridors, officials said.

The 26-year-old driver appeared to have been either drunk or impaired by drugs and had been arrested twice for drunken driving, officials said. The preliminary evidence indicated that the episode was not terrorism-related, officials said.

“Based on information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Thursday afternoon in Times Square.

The conditions of the injured victims was not known.

Witnesses described the horror of seeing the car traveling at high speeds through the neighborhood, which was packed with tourists, workers and many others on a sultry afternoon, and the mayhem in one of the world’s busiest and most famous plazas immediately evoked fears that it had been a deliberate act. 

Annie Donahey, 24, had just left work on Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets when the car, a maroon Honda, sped past her and slammed into pedestrians on the sidewalk.

“It was going at a fast rate of speed and to me it looked like it was trying to hit as many people as possible,” she said. “People were trying to jump out of the way.”

The exact route traveled by the car was not immediately known before it came to rest at the northwest corner of 45th Street and Broadway. The Honda sat tilted on bollards, its right wheels off the ground, its front hood crumpled and trunk open, as detectives and investigators canvassed the area. Photo

The police responded to an injury after a vehicle struck pedestrians in Times Square in New York on Thursday. Credit via Reuters

A few blocks away, Sharif White, who sells T-shirts and hats on the corner of 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, stood next to the body of a woman on her back on the sidewalk, who was surrounded by paramedics.

“It hit her,” he said, pointing to the woman. “And it hit a couple of other people. Then the next thing I know it went straight down to 45th. It just was doing like about 100 miles per hour and then the car crashed.”

The car’s bumper sat on 44th and Seventh in the middle of the sidewalk.

Magdy Tawfik, a hot dog vendor near the corner, said the car had struck three people there.

“The car sped through here, it was moving so fast, and it crushed all these people,” he said.

A Police Department spokesman said the driver of the car had been taken into custody. The law enforcement official said the driver was from the Bronx. The police had taped off many of blocks around Times Square.


TIMES SQUARE — A Navy vet with a history of drunk driving jumped the curb in the middle of crowded Times Square and sped along the sidewalk, killing one young woman and leaving at least 22 people hurt before being tackled and arrested, officials said.

Richard Rojas, 26, who officials said had two prior arrests for drunk driving, was driving southbound on Seventh Avenue when he pulled a U-turn at West 42nd Street and veered north onto the sidewalk on Broadway just before noon, officials said.

As panicked tourists dove for cover, he plowed his maroon 2009 Honda Accord through several blocks of pedestrians on the sidewalk before crashing to a halt against a metal stanchion near the George Abbott Way pedestrian plaza south of the TKTS booth, according to officials.

"Bodies were flying, he was running over people, it was like nothing I’d ever seen," said Julie Fallo of Hoboken, who was visiting in Times Square with her daughter and niece. "Everyone thought it was a terrorist attack and ran into buildings screaming. People were trying to get off the street... he never slowed down. He gunned it right into the people. He looked like he accelerated."

"There was bodies everywhere, flying left and right."

There were at least 22 people hurt, including four people who were taken to area hospitals in critical condition, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

An 18-year-old woman was killed, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who spoke at a press conference from the scene. Her 13-year-old sister was also injured in the crash, according to Assistant Chief William Aubry.

Rojas tried to make a run for it before being tackled by several good Samaritans and an NYPD traffic enforcement agent, Aubry said.

Police led Rojas, a Navy vet with a criminal record, in handcuffs through Times Square and put him into a police SUV, and took him to Midtown North police precinct for questioning, officials said.

The mayor said the calamity did not appear to be related to terrorism.

Out of an abundance of caution, bomb-sniffing dogs were brought to the scene just after 12:15 p.m. and the entire stretch of Seventh Ave. between 42nd and 57th streets was closed in both directions.

The streets and sidewalks were full of tourists during the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Kelly Graves, 54, of Wisconsin, who was visiting NYC on vacation, said she was near the Disney store on Broadway between 45th and 46th streets when she heard a crash.

"We saw groups of people lying on the sidewalk on the next block over, also in front of the car we saw a Gray Line ticket person laying on the ground with police surrounding him. he was injured. all of a sudden the car caught on fire. The police made us get back," Graves said. "People screamed, they were running away... it was total chaos."

Witnesses said they were afraid the crash may have been an act of terrorism.

"One of the cops said we should get back because they didn't know if there was a bomb," said Alex Ashton, 21, visiting from Georgia with her mother.

The cause of death for all 7 victims from Monday's house fire in Akron, OH is smoke inhalation.

The cause of death for all seven victims from Monday's house fire in Akron is smoke inhalation. The autopsies showed no non-fire related trauma.

The Summit County Medical Examiner has identified two of the people involved in the fatal house fire in Akron.
  • Dennis Huggins
  • Angela Boggs

The other five victims will be identified through DNA testing which will take some time to complete.

Many of the seven bodies found after a fatal fire on Fultz Street were huddled together near a window on the second floor, according to the Akron Fire Department.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's office said all of the bodies were found on the second floor.

Authorities have not officially identified any of the victims yet, but 18-year-old Brittany Boggs said the victims are her mother, Angela Boggs, her mother’s boyfriend Dennis Huggins, and her siblings: 14-year-old Jared, 6-year-old Daisia, 5-year-old Kyle, 2-year-old Alivia, and 1-year-old Cameron. Auditor's records list Angela Boggs and Dennis Huggins as the homeowners.

Brittany has set up a GoFundMe account to pay for funeral expenses.

"I lost everything and everyone I had," she said.

Autopsies are being conducted and the examiner's office is doing dental record testing for several of the bodies. Dental records are not available for all of the victims because of their young age.

This fire ties for the most deadly fire in Akron's history with seven fatalities, according to Akron Fire Chief Clarence Tucker. A growing memorial of balloons was started at the scene.

"My brothers and sisters were everything to me," said Brittany, who lives with her grandmother in Sandusky. "Even though they annoyed me, they kept me going. Me and my mom were dysfunctional, but I still loved her. We had a typical mother-daughter relationship. I thought I was right even when I was wrong."

She said she moved out three months ago because her mother's boyfriend kicked her out.

She said investigators told her they suspect arson.

The state Fire Marshal's Office has wrapped up its on-site work. No official cause has been announced.

Patrick Boggs, the estranged husband of Angela Boggs, was interviewed by the Akron Police Department, but he is not considered a person of interest at this time in connection to the fatal fire, authorities said. Akron Lt. Rick Edwards said Patrick Boggs has not been charged with anything related to the fire at this time, but he is currently being held in a Portage County jail for an unrelated parole violation.

Prestige Gunite Inc., concrete contractor employee critically injured from lightning strike as he was pouring concrete for a pool at Ocean Breeze Park, FL construction


A worker was critically injured Wednesday from a possible lightning strike near an Ocean Breeze Park construction site, according to the Martin County Sheriff's Office and Fire Rescue.

Deputies responded to a call of a man down and possibly struck by lightning shortly before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at a construction site near the 3000 block of North East Indian River Drive, said sheriff's Detective Sgt. Karl Nelson and Laurie Weber, media relations assistant.

Six co-workers at the scene performed CPR on the man until emergency medical services crews arrived, Nelson said. The man, 46, works for Prestige Gunite Inc., a concrete contractor based in Fort Pierce and was pouring cement for a new pool at the construction site.

The man was taken by ambulance to Martin Medical Center with critical injuries, said Nelson and Fire Rescue spokesman Chris Stabile. Further details on the man were not available.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

The construction manager is Bayview Construction Services, LLC.  They are in charge of building the following projects:  
Ocean Breeze Administration Building
Ocean Breeze Maintenance Building
Ocean Breeze Spa, Fitness and Recreation Center

Bayview Construction Services

Bayview Construction is one of the leading general contractors and a national award winning company in construction and safety, located in Florida's Research and Treasure Coast region. Bayview has been creating relationships and providing quality construction services to clients throughout Florida, from the east to the west coast for 35 years, since 1978.

A state-licensed certified general contractor, Bayview has extensive experience ranging from fine custom homes and estates to multi-million dollar commercial and industrial projects.

A construction worker injured after he fell on a piece of steel at an Upper East Side construction site

Firefighters strapped him into a stokes basket and lowered him to the street.
  The worker is expected to recover. (Marcus Santos) 

 MANHATTAN, NY (NY Daily News)
A construction worker had to be loaded into a basket and lowered six flights after he fell on a piece of steel at an Upper East Side construction site Wednesday, authorities said.

The worker, a man in his 30s, suffered a serious leg and hip injury when he tumbled onto some rebar while working on Park Ave. near W. 84th St. at about 11:40 a.m., authorities said.

He was taken to New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and is expected to recover, officials said.

He was working on construction of a 16-story residential apartment building when he was hurt.

Former Pine Bluff Housing Authority employee Leroy Dorn Jr., is entitled to have his workers' compensation claims heard again, regardless of whether he provoked the co-worker who injured him with a baseball bat

Man hurt with ball bat to get claim rehearing

By John Moritz

This article was published today at 3:15 a.m.

Former Pine Bluff Housing Authority employee Leroy Dorn Jr., is entitled to have his workers' compensation claims heard again, regardless of whether he provoked the co-worker who injured him with a baseball bat, the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Three appeals court judges reversed and remanded the case back to the state Workers' Compensation Commission, which had previously determined that the injured ex-employee was an "active participant" in the altercation in May 2015.

The attacker, Bruce Spicer, pleaded guilty to battery earlier this month and received probation.

Spicer told his boss at the city's Housing Authority that a co-worker, Leroy Dorn Jr., had threatened him with a knife on May 4, 2015, and accused him of stealing personal items and cleaning supplies, according to court filings.

Those records say bosses scheduled a meeting over the dispute the next day, and Spicer came armed with a wooden bat.

A Pine Bluff police officer testified that Spicer would not stop hitting Dorn in the parking lot outside their work until the officer threatened to use a stun gun on him.

Dorn's injuries included a missing tooth, broken bones on his face and a bruised elbow.

Both Dorn and Spicer were fired by the Housing Authority.

An administrative law judge awarded Dorn temporary workers' compensation benefits that July.

Both parties appealed -- with Dorn seeking further benefits -- but the Workers' Compensation Commission reversed the judge's decision and said Dorn's injuries were not covered by the law because they resulted from "personal animus for Spicer."

An opinion by Court of Appeals Chief Justice Rita Gruber, released Thursday, said it should not matter whether Dorn had issues with Spicer.

"Although his employer knew of the trouble between Dorn and Spicer and knew that they would arrive by 8:00 a.m. in the morning, no member of the supervisory staff had arrived for work when the attack took place," Gruber wrote.

Gruber, joined by two other judges, did not rule on Dorn's contention that he deserved more benefits, leaving that decision to the Workers' Compensation Commission.


Housing authority employee arrested on battery charges against

Bruce Wayne Spicer, 48

Friday Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:29 AM

A employee of Pine Bluff Housing Authority was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly beat another employee with a baseball bat.

A employee of Pine Bluff Housing Authority was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly beat another employee with a baseball bat.

Bruce Wayne Spicer, 48, allegedly struck another employee, Leroy Dorn Jr., who also worked for the housing authority, several times in the head, face and across his body, according to a probable cause affidavit from Detective Michael Merritt.

According to the affidavit, an of-duty officer was at 1401 Cottonwood Circle around the leasing office area when she saw a battery take place in her presence. Dorn asked the officer to assist him, and when she turned in Dorn’s direction, saw another man, later identified as Spicer, hit Dorn in the face with a stick.

Merritt said in the affidavit that the officer repeatedly yelled for Spicer to stop, but he refused until she pulled her Taser, removed the cartridge and sparked the Taser toward him, at which point Spicer dropped the stick. Spicer was asked by the off-duty officer why he struck Dorn and allegedly said Dorn had pulled a knife on him May 4.

Spicer said Dorn had confronted him about missing cleaning supplies and other personal belongings of his and the stick that was used was a small red-and-black Rawlings baseball bat.

Merritt said he spoke to Dorn at the hospital and Dorn allegedly said that sometime last week, his personal belongings were missing from an apartment he was cleaning. He said he asked other coworkers and said when he asked Spicer on May 5, he and Spicer began arguing. Dorn said he told his supervisors about the incident and they were going to meet on the day of the incident. Dorn also said he and another coworker, Robert Terry, walked by Spicer’s vehicle and spoke to him as normal, and Dorn said “Spicer became irate and said (expletive) I am going to (expletive) you up.” He said he saw Spicer reach back inside his vehicle and retrieve a bat, and Dorn said Spicer struck him in the face and continued striking him until the off-duty officer stopped him.

At the emergency room, Dorn was told that part of the left side of his face was fractured and the left eye retina and sinus cavity were damaged.

Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney on Thursday set a $100,000 bond for Spicer after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with first-degree battery.

Green Meadows Retirement Center employee Richard Flye of Sikeston, MO died and 3 residents injured after a rotting tree fell on them at the Green Meadows Retirement Center in Sikeston, MO

1 killed, 3 injured by fallen tree in Sikeston, Missouri 

Updated: May 17, 2017 6:20 PM EST


A person has died after a tree fell on them in Scott County, Missouri, on Wednesday. Three other people were injured.

The National Weather Service Paducah says a person died Wednesday afternoon in Scott County after a rotten tree fell on them. The tree was blown over by the wind and crushed the bench they were sitting. 

41-year-old Richard Flye of Sikeston, Mo was an employee at the retirement center and tried to save the others sitting on the bench.
Sikeston DPS Assistant Chief Jim McMillen tells us the tree fell on an employee at the Green Meadows Retirement Center in Sikeston. The employee died.

Three people who live at the retirement center were also hurt when the tree fell. They were taken to a local hospital.



The name of one person killed after a tree fell at a retirement center in Sikeston, Missouri has been released.

41-year-old Richard Flye of Sikeston, Mo was an employee at the retirement center.

Flye died and three others were injured after a tree fell at the center on Wednesday, May 17.

"We hate that the families going through this but you know I would say that if I had to loose a loved one I would hope they were trying to do something really good like this," said Sikeston DPS Assistant Police Chief Jim McMillen.

According to other employees who were there, Flye was attempting to push the others out of the way.

Of the three injured, McMillen said two have been released and one is going to a trauma center for multiple fractures to her ribs.

McMillen said the facility is located on the 400 block of Kingshighway and the accident happened around 2:25 p.m.

He said a gust of wind blew over the already rotting tree sending it onto a picnic table outside where residents and employees usually sit to take breaks.

Besides Flye there were only moderate injuries complaining of back, ribs, ankle and arm pain.

The Scott County Coroner was on scene. McMillen and Sikeston DPS has contacted the family who is shocked.

"That was my cousin man, I love him to death and me and him were like this," said LaShon Harrington, Flye's cousin. "I mean he was just at my house last night."

He said they will move the victim after the coroner assesses the scene.

Mohawk Industries worker Seedy Bah died from his injuries sustained during an explosion at the Unilin Wood Products Plant near Mount Gilead in Montgomery County, NC

Seedy Bah, died at the hospital following the plant explosion

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.C. -- One of the workers injured in a wood plant explosion in Montgomery County has died, Mohawk Industries announced.

The company confirmed Mr. Seedy Bah died around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday from his injuries.

The explosion happened at the Unilin Wood Products Plant near Mount Gilead in Montgomery County around 3 p.m. Tuesday. Two workers were taken to the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Mohawk Industries said the other employee that was injured, Mr. Raymond Thompson, is still receiving care in a trauma center.

The company says it is cooperating with the local fire department and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration during the investigation. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Mohawk Industries says nothing of this magnitude has ever happened at the plant. 


MOUNT GILEAD, N.C. – A big explosion rocked Unilin’s wood product plant in Montgomery County, North Carolina Tuesday – killing one employee and sending another to the hospital.

Local news sources reported both of the men were airlifted to nearby hospitals for burn treatment after the explosion.

Seedy Bah, a nine-year veteran of the company, died at the hospital the next morning.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that Mr. Seedy Bah passed away at around 2:30 am on May 17," said Unilin in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

The company said Bah was well-liked by all of his colleagues.

The other victim, Raymond Thompson, is still receiving care.

The explosion, which occurred around 3pm Tuesday, is currently under investigation. There is no estimate on damage to the plant.

Four fire departments responded to the scene reported WFMYNews2.

James Tyson, a communications officer for the Raleigh Department of Labor, told the Courier-Tribune that the state's OSHA division is conducting an investigation into what happened. According to the department’s website, an investigation can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months, depending on the accident. If citations and penalties are issued, that information will be released when the investigation is complete.

The plant’s VP of operations told WFMYNews2 that a spokesperson with Unilin’s parent company Mohawk Industries would likely be onsite to release more information.

Unilin, a manufacturer of laminate flooring, recently expanded its nearby Thomasville facility with the addition of a 100,000-square-foot warehouse as part of a $36 million investment. The expansion added 50 jobs - bringing the company’s total local workforce to over 350.