Victim Identified In Deadly Tulsa Construction Accident

Monday, August 16th 2010, 10:54 am
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6 

TULSA, OK -- Authorities have identified a man who died in a construction accident in Tulsa Monday morning.

The victim was identified as Noe Mendoza, 45, who lived in the Oklahoma City area.  Authorities said Mendoza worked for Plains Bridge Contracting of Oklahoma, based in Yukon.

The accident happened about 9:30 a.m., August 16th, 2010, in the 3500 block of North Osage Drive. 

The Tulsa Fire Department said Mendoza was run over by a piece of heavy equipment where crews are working on the extension of the Gilcrease Expressway west of Osage Drive. 

"Our hearts and prayers are with the Mendoza family. This is difficult for all of us," said Darren Bond, president of Plains Bridge Contracting of Oklahoma.

The machinery is a giant earthmover called an open-bowl scraper that was shifting dirt around at the time. Tulsa Police say they don't know if Mendoza mistakenly walked in front of the scraper or if the scraper veered into his path.

"Don't know the situation surrounding it, where the individual actually was when this incident occurred," said Tulsa Police Officer LeLand Ashley.According to Caterpillar's website, a scraper can weigh up to 126,000 pounds when fully-loaded.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the equipment lost power on the hill and couldn't stop before running over Mendoza. He may not have heard or seen the machine coming at him.

"Construction equipment is very loud, so there's a possibility," Ashley said.

Federal investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are launching their own investigation into the deadly accident. That is standard procedure in a work-related accident like this.

Most of the construction work is on hold while the investigation continues.