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Worker killed in Mentor trench collapse ID'd

Posted at 4:12 PM, Mar 29, 2016

The 28-year-old worker who was killed when a trench collapsed in Mentor on Tuesday has been identified.

The City of Mentor identified the man as Alexander Marcotte. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, compliance officers responded to Mentor for a worker who was trapped and severely hurt from a trench cave in approximately 6- to 8-feet deep. The City of Mentor said the accident occurred as a water line was being relocated by Aqua Ohio Incorporated.

The collapse happened on Heisley Road between Jackson Street and Whalers Cove. The southbound lanes of Heisley Road were closed for about six hours. All lanes were reopened around 8:30 p.m.

According to a City of Mentor spokesperson, OSHA has completed its on-scene investigation. 

Water service for residents between Jackson Street and Whaler's Cove has been restored. 

According to the city, Marcotte worked for Aqua Ohio Incorporated. He was extricated from the trench and taken to the hospital. He was then flown by medical helicopter where he died. 

OSHA spokesperson Scott Allen said the death was "completely preventable."

"Had they been following all OSHA standards and regulations, this individual would still be alive," Allen said.

Allen also said that the company involved in the incident, Aqua Ohio, is a company that has been previously cited for two serious violations in 2013 regarding not having a means of egress (i.e. a way out of a trench) and for not having the dirt far enough from the trench to prevent a collapse. Aqua Ohio paid more than $5,000 in penalties. 

According to the OSHA spokesperson, Aqua Ohio had another violation in 2004 with flagger controlling traffic violations. The company paid a $1,000 penalty then. 

Aqua Ohio said in a statement on Tuesday that the company would conduct an investigation and work with OSHA to learn more details about the incident. The statement continued:

Aqua Ohio announces with deep sorrow that one of our employees was killed this afternoon while working to repair a water main in Mentor, Ohio today.  The accident occurred while the employee was working in an excavated trench. The company will conduct an investigation, and work with OSHA on their investigation, as well. Out of respect for the family to ensure they have time to make personal notifications, Aqua will not yet be releasing the employee’s name.

“We are tremendously saddened at the death of our valued team member,” said Aqua Ohio President Ed Kolodziej. “We extend our most heartfelt sympathies to the employee’s loved ones.”

Grief counselors will be available for local employees beginning tomorrow.

An Aqua Ohio spokesperson told newsnet5.com that the company has hired a contractor to finish the job.