Pharos-Tribune

November 30, 2012

Worker killed at bridge construction site

Body was recovered after cave-in.

By Caitlin Huston and Sarah Einselen
Pharos-Tribune

DELPHI — A 30-year-old construction worker died at a Hoosier Heartland construction site outside Delphi Friday.

Arthur Kerns, an employee of T.J. Lambrecht Construction, was killed in a cave-in at a construction site near Carroll County Road 300 North and Ind. 25. Emergency crews responded to the scene about 1:15 p.m. Friday and recovered Kerns’ body about an hour later.

Detective Steve Mullin of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department said Kerns was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported at the site.

Carroll County Coroner J.D. Cree said he believed an autopsy would be performed Sunday. He said he was not yet sure of the cause of death.

“I really wouldn’t even want to speculate,” Cree said.

Mullin said he believed Kerns was in an excavation pit, when the dirt around him gave way. He estimated that about 600 cubic yards of dirt fell into the hole.

Crews there were in the process of building an overpass spanning the new Hoosier Heartland highway.

Construction had stopped for the weekend when the death was confirmed, said Matt Deitchley, a spokesman for the LaPorte district of the Indiana Department of Transportation. He said he was unaware whether construction would be suspended further.

T.J. Lambrecht was working as a subcontractor for Walsh Construction on the project, Deitchley said.

Deitchley said these kind of accidents do not happen regularly.

“We’re very upset about it,” he said.

The incident is still under investigation by the Carroll County Coroner’s Office, the sheriff’s department and Indiana State Police.

Mullin said he believed that either the state or national Occupational Health and Safety Administration would be investigating the work site.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.