Construction Worker Dies In Mishap On Neuville Drive

Neuville Dr death13

Emergency responders work to extricate the victim of a construction accident on Neuville Drive.

Update: The man killed in the collapse has been identified as Selvin Antulio Lopez-Castillo of Plainfield. Police said OSHA has determined that the workers “failed to meet proper trench safety requirements and a lack of shoring,” and a stop-work order has been issued until the investigation is complete.

A contractor working on a new house on Neuville Drive died May 4 after he was apparently buried when the 8-foot-deep trench in which he was working collapsed.

East Franklin Fire Co. Chief Dan Krushinski said the man, who has not yet been identified, was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. by medical personnel from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Township Police Sgt. Phil Rizzo said in a press release that the man was 43 years old and was from Salisbury, Md. Rizzo said identification was being withheld until notification of the next of kin.

Krushinksi said the man was one of a team of five workers who were on-site. He said there were no co-workers in the immediate area when the accident apparently occurred.

The man’s co-workers looked for him but could not find him, when they saw a fresh pile of soil, Krushinski said. The other workers began digging out the pile by hand, and were able to clear the man’s upper torso before calling for help at about 4 p.m., he said.

“We were told he was in the ground trying to run a drain line on the outside of the foundation, and the dirt fell in on top of him,” Krushinski said.

Emergency responders arrived at about 4:12 p.m. and the victim was removed at 5:43 p.m., Krushinski said.

Krushinski said the walls of the trench had to be shored up before responders could get the man out.

“It takes time to build the shoring and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “You don’t want to just throw somebody else in a hole.”

Krushinski said that there “probably should have been some shoring on either side where he was working to prevent the dirt from falling in” on the victim.

Responding were the Community and East Franklin fire departments, Somerset Fire & Rescue, and the New Brunswick Fire Department.

The accident is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The home under construction is planned by the property’s owner, Joachim Messing, as a caretaker’s house. In appearing earlier this year before the township Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, Messing said he would tear down an existing garage to build the three-bedroom house.

Messing, head of Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology, said he and his wife wanted to build the house for a future caretaker for his wife and himself so that they do not have to move to an assisted living center.

Neuville Drive Construction Death 5-4-15

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