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Front Page » August 5, 2004 » Local News » Road Worker Crushed in U.S. 6 Paving Mishap
Published 4,082 days ago

Road Worker Crushed in U.S. 6 Paving Mishap

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Sun Advocate community editor

Helper Councilman Bob Farrell stands in the filter room at the city's swimming pool. Maintenance and safety problems influenced the town's council to vote to close the pool for the summer. A request from a group seeking funds to revamp or build a new pool was recently turned down by the county's restaurant tax advisory committee and Carbon commissioners supported the advisory panel's decision.

A mid-afternoon accident involving crews paving U.S. Highway 6 critically injured one man on Monday afternoon and brought traffic on the busy road to a stand still.

The accident reportedly occurred when Jeffrey Benedict, 47, of Phoenix, Ariz., was trapped between a power sweeping machine and the eastbound facing paving machine at about 3:30 p.m..

Benedict, who works for Sunland Asphalt, was doing something on the machine when the operator of the sweeper, Wilford Simonson, 34, of Tooele, purportedly started the sweeper, which was facing north.

"It appeared to be some kind of mechanical issue or malfunction," indicated Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Vasquez. "As Mr. Simonson put the brushes down on the machine, the unit made a right turn toward the rear and that's when Mr. Benedict was trapped between the two machines."

The incident occurred at the intersection of U.S. 6 and its junction with Utah Highway 191.

It took a long time for rescuers to get that man out of the predicament, and stabilize him. Because of his injuries, officials actually called the University of Utah Hospital to bring in Life Flight to transport him directly to Salt Lake, but bad thunderstorms and winds along the Wasatch Front made it impossible for the helicopter to take off. With that Benedict was transported to Castleview Hospital for treatment. At around 7 p.m. that evening Life Flight was able to take off again and transported him to University Hospital. At the time he was reportedly in very critical condition.

Once the man was removed from the area, traffic lanes were opened up again and the canyon vehicle jam soon cleared up.

"It was an unusual investigation for us," said Vasquez. "It was an industrial accident, but since it took place on the highway it was up to us to do the initial inquiry."

Vasquez said that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be also investigating the incident.

The OSHA investigation was also confirmed by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) on Wednesday.

"We have asked OSHA to come in and evaluate the safety practices," said Myron Lee, spokesman for the UDOT. "We are waiting for them to finish their investigation so we can figure out what went wrong and to correct it so it won't happen again."

Lee said that whenever an accident happens on one of their projects it upsets the entire department.

"Our people are deeply saddened by this accident," he said. "We work around heavy equipment all the time, but when this type of thing happens, it hits everyone hard."

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