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Worker Killed in OH Overpass Collapse

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

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A construction worker has perished in the "catastrophic pancake collapse" of a Cincinnati overpass that was being prepared for demolition.

The collapse occurred about 10:30 p.m. ET Monday (Jan. 19), sending a section of the Hopple Street bridge onto the southbound lanes of I-75, according to the Cincinnati Fire Department.

The victim, 35-year-old Brandon Carl of Augusta, KY, was pinned underneath a piece of equipment that tipped over when the bridge began to give way, Cincinnati Police Captain Doug Wiesman told The Enquirer.

Cincinnati overpass collapse / Cincy Fire & EMS

A worker was killed in the "catastrophic pancake collapse" of a Cincinnati overpass  being prepared for demolition. A trucker was injured when he drove into the concrete as it was falling.

A truck driver was also injured when his tractor-trailer struck the collapsed bridge as it hit the ground. The driver was taken to the hospital, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

Workplace Accident

A co-worker's wife told The Enquirer that Carl had a 14-year-old daughter and three children under the age of nine. He was engaged to his high-school sweetheart.

As for the truck driver, Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said he was "very lucky."

"In a matter of seconds, his fate would have probably been different," Blackwell said.

Blackwell called it a workplace accident, saying that crews were taking down the old bridge when something went "terribly wrong," the Associated Press reported.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. 

Brandon Carl

Brandon Carl, 35, was engaged to his high school sweetheart, with whom he had four children.

"What appears to have happened is, in essence, an industrial accident—a workplace incident with respect to a construction crew that's doing work out here," Harry Black, city manager, told The Enquirer.

The southbound lanes of I-75, which carries about 200,000 vehicles each day, will be closed for at least 48 hours during the investigation.

100 Tons of Concrete

The replacement bridge was already open to traffic, and it remains open.

"The debris needs to be removed, and we have to determine if there is damage to the pavement," Sharon Smigielski, spokesperson for Ohio Department of Transportation, told

Investigators said about 100 tons of concrete had fallen when the bridge gave way.

Hopple Street / Cincy Fire & EMS

Investigators said about 100 tons of concrete fell in what they are calling a "workplace accident."

Gary Middleton, acting deputy director of ODOT, said it was "clearly possible" with this project to dismantle the bridge without closing the lanes under it.

'Safety-Conscious Contractor'

At a press conference Tuesday (Jan. 20) morning, Middlteton called the project's contractor, Kokosing Construction Company, a "safety-conscious contractor" with "some of the highest ratings."

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, and its OSHA record was not available.

Kokosing's website boasts its focus on safety, stating: "This is demonstrated in everything we do, from the start of the day on the job with our Morning Action Plan (MAP) and crew stretching, to providing high quality safety education and total management support."


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Demolition; Department of Transportation (DOT); Fatalities; Health & Safety; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; Roads/Highways

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