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Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

Man dies after being pinned by excavator at County Farm Park

By Paula Gardner

Thumbnail image for malletts_creek_accident_2.jpg

Previous story: Worker critically injured after being pinned under excavator at County Farm Park

The man who was critically injured Tuesday afternoon after being pinned by an excavator has died from his injuries.

The victim, a 57-year-old man from Marshall, Mich., was working with crews from Mead Bros. Excavating on the site of the Malletts Creek restoration project at County Farm Park in Ann Arbor .

Bob Tetens, the Washtenaw County parks and recreation director, said the project is being overseen by the county's water resources commissioner and he didn't personally have any experience with the contractor, but he was briefed on what happened today.

"It appears that one of the workers on the crew went to a remove a rock between the tracks of the excavator and basically the operator did not see him and started to drive the excavator and drove over him," Tetens said shortly after 3 p.m. "I just got word he didn't survive."

Tetens said it's his understanding it was a small company and many of the employees are relatives. He said they're still in shock.

Rescue crews from the Ann Arbor Fire Department reached the scene and immediately began to dig the victim out of the mud under the excavator, said Battalion Chief Kevin Cook.

"He was embedded in the ground about 2 feet from the weight of the machine," Cook said.

The rescue involved firefighters using their hands to dig the man out of the dirt due to the extent of his injuries and the risk to hurting him further in the rescue, Cook said.

Then the rescuers - an initial team of three firefighters then six more who were called to the scene - had to carry the victim through thorny underbrush up the side of the hill, estimated at about 60 degrees.

"It was challenging to get him up," Cook said.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration are on the scene investigating, Tetens said.

"At this time it appears to be a tragic accident," said sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson.

Mead Bros. Excavating, based in Springport, Mich., was awarded a $2.2 million county contract last summer to do the excavation work associated with the Malletts Creek work. reporter Ryan Stanton contributed to this report.



Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.

I hope the man driving the excavator can somehow find peace.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:11 a.m.

What a sad sad story. Construction work is sooooooooo dangerous.

Ann English

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

I wonder if excavating machines could be fitted with side mirrors, so the operators can see better where they're backing up. Moving rocks away from tracks is a good deed, it isn't like something that people try to hide from others while doing, such as smoking. On the back of some trucks is written, "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you."


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:06 a.m.

What about HVA? I find it hard to believe that AA fire undertook this all by themselves, and find it hard to believe that HVA was not involved. Lets give HVA some credit too. please do mroe research about your stories before posting. With that being said...I hope the victim's family finds some peace at this time of their traggic accident.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:15 a.m.

Sorry BNR.. Not an HVA employee.. I am a medic but work in the hospital setting (cath lab).. and while my comment was geared to be sarcastic towards Prancer about HVA not being mentioned, you are correct that this is neither the time or place.. My condolences to the family involved and with the tragic outcome, there are no winners or losers.. Perhaps should just refer to a broad term such as "rescue crews" so no one gets their feelings hurt.. I appriciate all what HVA and AAFD personnel do everyday.. Sorry again for my ill-timed post..


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:53 a.m.

To the two HVA employees that felt the need to cry for attention on this story involving a family losing their father right in front of their eyes... truly disgusting. You've done yourselves a true disservice in the eyes of these readers and the family by trying to turn this into a popularity contest.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

Oh Prancer, AAFD firefighters are hero's!! HVA staff are just paramedics.. What possible difference could they have made??

Joan Densmore

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

My Prayers go out to all the Meads and friends. Also the frist responders that helped. Such a sad accident.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

Yikes! I was at the rec center when this must have happened. How sad. Condolences to all affected.

Christine Moellering

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

How horribly sad. I'm so sorry for the family. The poor guy just wanted to do his job. It's the type of accident that could happen to anyone. Life is so precious.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

Awful news. I can't imagine. I hope that the operator of the excavator is able to forgive himself--it was an awful accident but an accident nonetheless. I'll be thinking of all involved this Christmas.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

We also need to remember the firefighters who experienced this horrible accident first-hand and did what they could. I'm sure they won't forget this day ever.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 6:55 a.m.

Sad. Construction sites remain some of the most dangerous of places. Communication and visibility remain two of them most important safety measures. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Fortunately, with today's safety laws the workplace is far safer from those days when my dad worked for large construction companies in the S.E. Michigan area back in the 1950s and 60s. He had some stories. But tragedies are an ever-present reminder of the danger of working around machines, anytime, anywhere.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:32 a.m.

Can we pleases refer to it as Washtenaw Woods, county farm park was actualy south of here, closer to cobblestone farmm


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

The Britton woods used to be known as Washtenaw Woods when I was growing up in the area. In the middle of the park there was and still may be an olde fenceline that runs north to south. The insane asylum building was on the site where the rec center is I think the building came down in the late 70's.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

See link: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> .....and I would think there would be more important things for you to be concerned with considering a man died a horrible death.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

The County Farm (a hospital) sat on the hill near Platt Road. It was used for indigent people. I assume that is why they named the land around it County Farm Park.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:36 a.m.

Sorry to hear it. In alot of ways, this County Farm project reminds me of the Library lot &quot;Big Dig&quot;...a needlessly complex and poorly planned debacle. Do they really need to tear that place up as much as they have? It looks like Verdun or The Somme in WW1 over there.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

I walked this creek bed and the northern in my formative years day in and day out, his soul is in a wonderful place. Bless his family and friends.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

northern part of the park it is supposed to read.

Dwight Lang

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:33 a.m.

A young law student died in this area just two falls ago. So very sad for all the families.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:37 p.m.

My prayers to go the victim's family and everyone involved - what a tragic accident.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

I am so sorry to hear that he didn't make it. I was praying for him. My condolences go out to his family and co-workers.

Linda Peck

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

I wish to express my condolences to the family and friends of this man. May their hearts be healed.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

What a terrible tragedy. That poor family.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

My heart breaks for this family ... just before the holidays. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and his family as well to his co workers. It's hard to lose someone anytime but especially at this time of year. And to the rescue workers I hope you find solace in that you did your best in a difficult situation.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Please pray for this family. Sudden unexpected deaths are never easy for the family OR for the the employer, co-workers, etc. Lives for all are changed forever. Count your blessings, tell those you love that you love them every day.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

apology for the typo on the second &quot;the&quot;, but you get the message. This is very, very sad.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

So very very sad...


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

How awful! My thoughts and prayers are with this man's family.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

So sad...prayers go out to the victim, his family, and the first responders. That's a heavy hit... the lady complaining about the traffic as well...some people...