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Identity of man killed at quarry won't be released

April 27, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The identity of a man who was killed Wednesday at a limestone quarry while operating a large haul truck that plunged about 120 feet to the bottom of a pit was not released at the request of his family, authorities said Thursday.

"I'm not sure all family members have been identified," said Amy Louviere, spokesperson for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Marco Barbesta, director of communications for ESSROC, the quarry operator, said the company also was respecting a wish of the family of the deceased and not releasing his name.

Barbesta confirmed that the man was a longtime employee, and noted plant officials determined the 100-ton haul truck he was operating fell about 120 feet from the cliff's edge.

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Berkeley County Medical Examiner David Brining said Wednesday that the deceased was 65. The lack of brake or acceleration marks and other evidence collected from a preliminary investigation by the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department led officers to believe a medical condition might have caused the man to lose control of the truck.

The man was thrown from the vehicle, Brining said.

Louviere said the MSHA's investigation of the accident at ESSROC's quarry at 1826 S. Queen St. could take several weeks to complete, pending witness interviews and possible analysis of equipment involved. Also investigating are the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training and ESSROC, which is headquartered in Nazareth, Pa.

Louviere said the MSHA's probe could be shortened if the agency determines the man's death was the result of a "nonchargeable" accident that stemmed from a medical-related issue such as a heart attack. She cited the medical ailment only as an example, and said the agency could not elaborate on the man's death until reviewing a copy of the coroner's report.

Barbesta said the man was employed as an equipment operator at their 849-acre property off South Queen Street.

ESSROC is a cement producer with operations throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The company is part of the Italcementi Group.

The company is in the process of upgrading two kilns at the Martinsburg plant's cement production facilities, which formerly were operated by Capital Cement and Martin Marietta.

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