Pharos-Tribune

December 6, 2012

Construction continues on Hoosier Heartland

Work resumes at Delphi site one week after fatality.

by Caitlin Huston
Pharos-Tribune

— Construction is continuing around the site of a cave-in in Delphi where a man was killed last week.

Arthur Kerns, 30, an employee of T.J. Lambrecht Construction, died Friday at the Hoosier Heartland Highway construction site on Carroll County Road 300 North and Ind. 25. An investigation with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration is underway and those who oversee the site say it’s too early to tell if there will be any delays in completion of the project.

Kerns was believed to have been in an excavation pit when the dirt around the hole gave way. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

After the fatality Friday, Matt Deitchley, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation LaPorte district, said workers began work on Monday, but did not work in the area where the cave-in took place.

“It’s a large project so they’re able to work in other areas,” Deitchley said.

Some workers went to grief counseling Monday, he added.

Deitchley said he had not heard of anything that would delay construction of this stretch of the Hoosier Heartland, but that if the work site is later determined to be unsafe, work could slow down.

“I think at this time it’s way too early to say that,” Deitchley said of the delay.

Chetrice Mosley, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Labor, said IOSHA started an investigation into the incident on Friday. She said the incident, the employee and the company, T.J. Lambrecht, will be investigated.  

“It’s not just that moment in the time, they also look to see if everything was constructed correctly,” Mosley said.

The investigations can take two to three weeks up to six months.  

Carroll County Coroner J.D. Cree said he did an autopsy on Kerns Sunday. He said he is waiting for toxicology results before determining the official cause of death.

“I just don’t make a ruling until I have a toxicology,” Cree said.

There was nothing to indicate any drugs of alcohol were involved, though, and Cree said the cause of death would likely be asphyxiation.

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