Asphalt Machine Falls On Worker Outside Tulsa Marriott Hotel
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa rescue crews responded to a parking lot near 71st and Lewis after a person was killed in a construction-related accident.
The family of Rick Deeter said he served in the Marines and was the oldest of four brothers. They said he was a tough man, yet soft, and that he loved motorcycles.
Deeter was killed while working in a parking lot at 71st and Wheeling next to the Marriott hotel. Witnesses said workers were trying to drive an asphalt paver onto a flatbed when it tipped over and on top of Deeter.
Family members were devastated to learn he’d been killed on the job in such a tragic way.
Ray Stephens works nearby and said he saw the asphalt crew the day before. He was shocked to hear what happened.
"Somebody came in and said somebody died outside, so we just came out, stepped outside to see what was going on and found out that someone had passed away out here," he said.
Tulsa Police said Deeter was trying to load the machine onto a trailer for maintenance when things went horribly wrong.
"As they did attempt to push that asphalt machine back onto the flatbed it began to jump and lurch and knocked the operator off of the flatbed and off of the asphalt machine itself," said Sergeant Shane Tuell.
Police said the machine fell on top of Deeter and he most likely died instantly.
"It does appear to be an accident. Part of the investigation will be, was this preventable or not," Tuell said.
Crews worked in scorching conditions for hours to free Deeter.
"We still want to take our time, do it slowly and do it with integrity, for the victim and the victim's family," said Frank Bresee with Tulsa Fire. "Calls like this don't happen all the time, but when they do, you remember them."
Stephens and others in the area said they didn’t know Deeter but said their thoughts are with him and his family.
"Yea it's bad. Tragic," Stephens said.
Deeter worked for American Asphalt.
The safety director said it’s a tragic accident and that they have notified OSHA and are investigating what happened.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.