19-Year-Old Killed In Catoosa Industrial Accident

Friday, April 9th 2021, 9:40 pm

CATOOSA, Oklahoma -

A 19-year-old man was killed in an industrial accident in Catoosa this week, leaving his parents searching for answers.

Zeke Hearn died on Wednesday after an accident at the Valmont galvanizing plant where he worked. His parents, Kelly and James Hearn, said he was crushed by a six-to-eight-hundred-pound sheet of metal.

They said it hit him in the back from behind and fell on top of him.

"We are unsure of how long he was lying there, if he was alone, if he was still conscious or anything like that," Kelly said.

Zeke was rushed to the hospital where he died after doctors tried to revive him.

"I know the doctors and the nursed did everything that they could," Kelly said. "There was nothing else they could do."

Zeke's parents said he was a lot of things to a lot of people, and that he had a lasting impact in his community. Dozens of comments under the hashtag “#pinkforzeke” paint the picture of a helper and leader - someone who was loved.

"Helping people, that was a huge thing for him, was helping those that were in need," James said. "He had an infectious smile. And if you weren't laughing, he would make you laugh."

Zeke's parents haven't been told much else about what happened Wednesday, and they likely won't have answers until OSHA is finished with its investigation in three to six months.

"I want to know what happened to our son," Kelly said.

In a statement, Valmont said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues. The company has arranged for counseling to be available to employees who may request it. We are fully cooperating with local authorities and OSHA authorities in their investigations."