Fatal Accident Halts Freeway Construction - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/16/08

Fatal Accident Halts Freeway Construction

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Construction on the Marsha Sharp Freeway will be on hold Friday, as the investigation into Thursday's deadly accident continues.  

Authorities tell NewsChannel 11 that 36-year-old Larry Franco was part of a crew near 34th and Bangor, installing concrete forms for the freeway. Franco was in a trench when crews were moving the large, concrete blocks into place with a backhoe. Investigators say the backhoe malfunctioned and the large piece of concrete fell on Franco.

Authorities on the scene say they're not sure whether he died from suffocation or the impact, but they tell us that EMS crews pronounced Franco dead just after 1 p.m. Thursday.  OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) is now looking into the incident.

Franco worked for Granite Construction.  NewsChannel 11 asked for comment on the accident.  Jacque Fourchy, Corporate Spokesperson for Granite Construction Incorporated sent us the following statement: 

This was a tragic event and we are deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our granite family. We are working with investigators and devoting all necessary resources to determine the cause of this accident. Safety is our highest priority at granite, and we take all accidents on our projects very seriously. The project will be shut down tomorrow (Friday), as we continue our investigation and mourn the loss of our co-worker. The company has also arranged for employees to meet with grief counselors as needed.

Granite says it's too early to speculate what may have caused the backhoe to malfunction, but authorities on the scene say it could have been a problem with the hydraulics. 

NewsChannel 11 received a call from a member of Franco's family Thursday evening.  He tells us Franco was very devoted to his children and family, and that he will be missed.

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