Road maintenance worker dies after fall from dump truck

September 20, 2010

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- A road maintenance worker died Monday morning after he fell from the back of a West Virginia Department of Highways dump truck south of Berkeley Springs, according to West Virginia State Police and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Robert Fleece Jr. apparently struck his head after falling from the truck on Honey Crest Drive off Winchester Grade Road, according to Trooper H.D. Heil and DOT spokesman Brent Walker.

Fleece was one of three workers who were on a stand in the rear of the truck, which was spreading gravel on freshly tarred pavement about 8:20 a.m., police said. The three workers were responsible for making sure gravel was being evenly spread from a device at the back of the truck, police said.

As the dump truck was backing up slowly, the bed of the truck suddenly raised to a maximum height, which caused the victim to be thrown from the rear of the truck, police said.


A safety chain was attached across the rear of the stand, but Fleece fell over it and onto the road, police said.

Fleece, who suffered head trauma, was taken to War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Fleece had been employed by the agency since February, enjoyed his work and did a good job, Walker said.

"It's an awful day," Walker said.

Walker and state Sen. John Unger, who chairs the Senate Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, said the circumstances of the accident would be reviewed extensively.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to his family," said Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson. "It's just a tragic, tragic situation."

Unger said he was told that Fleece had a 15-year-old son.

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