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Hockessin Community News
  • YEAR IN REVIEW: Worker killed in accident near Westown Movies

  • A 62-year-old Maryland man was killed Sept. 23 when he fell into a sinkhole while working on a sewer line extension near the Westown Movies theater.
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  • THE STORY
    A 62-year-old Maryland man was killed Sept. 23 when he fell into a sinkhole while working on a sewer line extension near the Westown Movies theater.
    Port Deposit resident Jerry Hurley, an employee of Newark-based Austin & Bednash Construction, was part of a crew working on a tie-in to extend town sewer service to a commercial section of the expansive Westown development, including the 12-screen movie theater that was still under construction.
    The crew was supposed to work in a 14-foot-deep pit, but the project was delayed when workers found a substantial amount of water at the bottom of the hole.
    Hurley, who had been using an excavator to dig a hole at the bottom of the pit for a pump, attempted to inspect the hole from outside the pit when the earth on which he was standing gave way, trapping him in the wet dirt up to his shoulders.
    A town inspector witnessed the collapse and called 911, at which time Hurley was reportedly still conscious and able to speak.
    Volunteer Hose Company Chief Frank Bailey said Hurley’s head sank below the ground before the first responders arrived minutes later.
    THE IMPACT
    Neither town officials nor representatives of Austin & Bednash have commented publicly on Hurley’s death.
    The sewer extension project was completed a few weeks later.
    WHAT’S NEXT
    As of Dec. 20, the incident was still being investigated by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. By law, the investigation must be completed before the end of March.

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