IL Tollway worker killed while helped a motor.
Officials Tuesday night charged Renato V. Velasquez, 46, of Hanover Park in connection with the accident.
Velasquez was charged with operating a commercial vehicle while impaired/fatigued, filing a false report of record and duty status, driving more than 14 hours and driving beyond the 11 hour rule, all class four felonies, according to state police officials.
He was also charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to stationary emergency vehicles in violation of Scott’s Law. A bond hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in DuPage County Court.

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Shoddy work by two electricians led to the death of a man at a west Houston hotel swimming pool, police said.
Jason Joseph Gorczyca, 35, and James Ray Pyle, 34, were charged on Friday with criminally negligent homicide
Houston police were looking Saturday for two electricians charged with criminally negligent homicide in a man’s electrocution in a west Houston hotel swimming pool.

Jason Joseph Gorczyca and James Ray Pyle are wanted in connection with the Aug. 31 death of Raul Hernandez, 27.

A police statement says repair work was done in a “substandard fashion,” leading to a pool light short that killed Hernandez.

Hernandez and his family were swimming at the Hilton Houston Westchase when the pool lights came on at dusk.

Other people in the pool began to complain of being shocked, and Hernandez swam to the deep end of the pool to help a child get out.

He needed help from bystanders to get out, and then went into cardiac arrest and died a short time later at a Houston hospital.

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen, 33, were arrested in the listeria outbreak investigation that killed 33 people.
The F.D.A. said Jensen Farms bought the used processing equipment just before the outbreak, and it was corroded and dirty.
Also, the packing facility floors were difficult to clean, so pools of water potentially harboring the bacteria formed close to the packing equipment, the agency said.
Another possible source of contamination was a truck that frequently hauled cantaloupe to a cattle operation and was parked near the packing house. Plead guilty to Misdemeanors. 6 months homes confinement. $150,000 restitution.

Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers will not go to prison but were sentenced Tuesday to probation and home detention for their role in a listeria outbreak that killed 33 people in 2011. The Food and Drug Administration called it the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in the USA since 1924

Eric and Ryan Jensen, the two brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., were sentenced in federal court in Denver.

Each received five years probation and six months home detention. Each also was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

The Jensens apologized for the listeria outbreak, which was traced to their farm. They had asked for probation, saying justice has been served because federal regulations have been put in place that will reduce the likelihood of a repeat tragedy.

Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty said he did not order prison time or fines so the brothers could keep working to support their families and pay restitution.

“I must deliver both justice and mercy at the same time,” Hegarty said.

Federal prosecutors also had asked for probation. Relatives of seven victims took the stand before sentencing, some saying the men should not go to prison and others asking for prison time.

The Jensens pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, which carry penalties of up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. They pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.

Their attorneys argued in court filings that the case “has already prompted a new awareness of food safety law and the strict liability imposed on producers and food processors. Any desired respect for the law has been accomplished.”

Months before the outbreak, President Obama signed into law a food safety bill designed to shift the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called the Colorado outbreak “the latest illustration of the continuing need for a strong food-safety program.”

Its investigation found multiple problems, including evidence that the melons likely were contaminated in the farm’s packing house because of dirty water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean equipment.

The FDA also has said that the rare move to charge the Jensens was intended to send a message to food producers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms to the listeria outbreak that began at the end of August 2011. In October 2011, the FDA found that Jensen Farms’ packing and storage facilities likely helped spread the listeria and directly contributed to the outbreak.

More than 125 people in 28 states fell ill from cantaloupe linked to the Colorado farm, the CDC said.

Listeriosis from listeria bacteria is a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Fever and muscle aches sometimes accompany diarrhea or other digestive problems. Pregnant women face a risk of miscarriage, which one survivor experienced. Convulsions also are possible in severe cases, according to the CDC.

The more bacteria in the food eaten, the more quickly the person becomes ill. “With listeria, it’s growing within the person until it reaches some threshold and spills over. From there it migrates from the gut to the liver and then the blood and the central nervous system,” said Ben Silk, an epidemiologist at CDC who led the listeria investigation.

Craig Belcher, 37, of Bluefield, pleaded guilty in July 2013 to providing a false statement, representation and certification in a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) document. 21 months in jail

A Mercer County man who falsified mandatory mine safety reports while employed at several West Virginia mining operations was sentenced Monday to 21 months in federal prison.

Belcher’s sentence was handed down Monday by Senior United States District Court Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield.

In January 2009, Belcher was hired to work as an underground mine foreman at Spartan Mining Company’s Road Fork No. 51 mine located in Wyoming County. Belcher was hired in February 2009 to perform mine foreman duties at Frasure Creek’s Mine No. 15 located in Fayette County, according to the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Belcher also performed similar foreman duties in May 2009 at Pay Car’s Mine No. 58 in McDowell County, and in July 2010 at Double Bonus’s Mine No. 65 in Wyoming County.

Between January 27, 2009 and July 13, 2010, Belcher signed pre-shift and on-shift reports, which indicated that he had properly examined particular sections at each mine. Belcher was not certified as a foreman when he completed the mine reports. Belcher also falsified information on pre-shift and on-shift reports by using foreman’s numbers that did not belong to him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

The investigation was conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Assistant United States Attorney Blaire Malkin handled the prosecution.

Craig Sanborn owned the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, where the 2010 explosion killed 56-year-old Donald Kendall, of Colebrook, and 49-year-oldJesse Kennett, of nearby Stratford.
Sanborn, 64, was sentenced on Nov. 27 by a superior court judge to five to 10 years on two counts of manslaughter, to be served consecutively, for a total of 10 to 20 years, and assessed fines of $10,000

A gunpowder plant owner has been sentenced to at least a decade in prison over a 2010 explosion that killed two workers in New Hampshire.

Craig Sanborn was convicted last month of manslaughter and was sentenced Wednesday to 10 to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Sanborn was reckless in manufacturing, testing and storing the black powder and failed to adequately train workers at the Black Mag plant in Colebrook, where an explosion killed 56-year-old Donald Kendall, of Colebrook, and 49-year-old Jesse Kennett, of Stratford.

According New Hampshire Public Radio, U.S. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said, “Sanborn recklessly ignored basic safety measures that would have protected their lives. His criminal conviction and sentence won’t bring these men back to life, but it will keep him from putting workers’ lives in peril.”

Prosecutor John McCormick argued that Sanborn, who was found guilty by a jury in Coos County Superior Court, had been motivated by profits.

“Obviously, we’re pleased the jury came back with guilty verdicts and that justice was done for the victims’ families,” McCormick said after the verdict.

McCormick told jurors that Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., was reckless in manufacturing, testing and storing the black powder and failed to adequately train and protect workers. He told them Sanborn also was trying to meet conditions of an ambitious and lucrative contract for which he’d already received a $300,000 down payment.

Sanborn’s lawyer, Mark Sisti, has said his client was out of town and noted the explosion could have been caused by various scenarios, including employee error or a stray piece of metal creating friction inside a machine. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the sentence.

Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., was denied an appeal bond and was taken into custody after his sentencing.
Michaels also said, “worker safety can never be sacrificed for the benefit of production, and workers lives are not – and must never be – considered part of the cost of doing business.”

OSHA officials reportedly said they were not aware of the plant before the explosion.

An investigation of the plant explosion resulted in 16 willful and more than 30 serious safety violation citations, along with a $1.2 million penalty against the plant.

David Hughart, sentenced on conspiracy charges. Judge Irene Berger gave Hughart 3½ years in jail and 3 years supervised release for his part in alerting miners to surprise MSHA inspections.

Former Massey Energy Executive, David Hughart, was in federal court in Beckley on Tuesday for sentencing on conspiracy charges. Judge Irene Berger gave Hughart 3½ years in jail and 3 years supervised release for his part in alerting miners to surprise inspections.

A release from United States Attorney Booth Goodwin states:

United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a longtime Massey Energy Company executive was sentenced to 42 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for two federal crimes in connection with an ongoing investigation of practices at Massey. David Hughart, 54, of Crab Orchard, West Virginia, is the former president of Massey’s Green Valley Resource Group and the highest-ranking official to be convicted in the ongoing federal investigation. Hughart’s sentence is one year above the top of federal advisory guidelines range. Hughart previously pleaded guilty in February to two federal charges: conspiracy to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and conspiracy to violate mine health and safety laws.

“Mine safety laws exist to protect the health and safety of coal miners. When those laws are broken, miners’ lives are put in danger. That’s absolutely intolerable,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. “This prosecution reiterates the message that mine safety laws are never, ever optional.”
Hughart admitted that he and others at Massey conspired to violate health and safety laws and to conceal those violations by warning mining operations when MSHA inspectors were arriving to conduct mine inspections.
Hughart is the highest-ranking mine official ever convicted of conspiracy to impede MSHA or conspiracy to violate mine health and safety standards.
Coal mines in the United States are subject to an array of mandatory federal mine health and safety standards designed to prevent dangers such as explosions, roof collapses, and fires. MSHA conducts frequent, unannounced mine inspections to monitor compliance with those requirements. When MSHA inspectors find violations of health and safety requirements, mine owners are subject to monetary penalties and, in some cases, production shutdowns until violations are corrected.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation arm. Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., which acquired Massey’s operations in a June 2011 merger, is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.
The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger in federal district court in Beckley.
Counsel to the United States Attorney Steven Ruby handled the prosecution.

The highest ranking executive of the former Massey Energy Company was back in court on Tuesday for two different reasons.

David Hughart appeared before Judge Vandervort in federal court in Beckley at 1 p.m. for a probation revocation hearing. Hughart was arrested at the end of August for having Oxycodone and an anti-anxiety drug. Police said that he did not have a prescription for either of the pills.

At 2:30 p.m. Hughart went before Judge Irene Berger in Beckley Federal Court. He pleaded guilty to two federal conspiracy charges back in February. The charges were for alerting miners at the White Buck Coal company to surprise federal inspections from 2000 to 2010.

The information about Hughart’s activities came to light following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010 that killed 29 coal miners. Hughart never worked at the Upper Big Branch mine. During the plea hearing in February, Hughart told the Judge under oath that the CEO of Massey also knew about illegal activity by the company before the UBB explosion. The CEO of Massey at the time of the UBB explosion was Don Blankenship.

Hughart is the highest ranking person at Massey to be prosecuted so far. He is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation into other illegal activity by Massey Energy.

Tree-service owner charged with manslaughter of a child after 14-year-old fell 50 feet to his death while using a chainsaw in a tree.

Jonathan Harves Wilkes, 37, of Palatka, FL turned himself in at the Sheriff’s Office and faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Jonathan Harves Wilkes, 37, turned himself in at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office headquarters building on Sept. 23 after authorities obtained a warrant for his arrest from Circuit Court Judge John H. Skinner.

According to the warrant, Blake Bryant, 14, of Palatka “died as a direct result of the gross and culpable negligence of his employer, Jonathan Wilkes.” Wilkes is owner of John Wiles Tree Service.

Bryant died Aug. 13 while cutting a 71 foot tall pine tree at a home in the 4200 block of Scenic Drive in Middleburg. He was airlifted to UF Health Hospital in Jacksonville where he “succumbed to his traumatic injuries.” A medical examiner report stated Bryant died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.

Wilkes told police he thought Bryant was 16 years-old, which, regardless, would be a violation of Florida Child Labor Laws that prevent the use of heavy machinery, such as chainsaws.

“The culmination of these violations results in the defendant’s culpable negligence and the death of the victim,” stated the warrant.

Police said that while cutting a second top portion of the tree off, Bryant’s climbing harness was severed, which caused him to fall to the packed dirt driveway below. According to police, he was supposed to be wearing a secondary safety harness as well.

Meanwhile, Bryant’s family believed their son “was never to climb a tree.”

Wilkes was booked into the Clay County Jail where he was since been released on $25,003 bond.

Following an investigation, a grand jury is charging Griffin Campbell, the contractor in charge of the fatal June 5th demolition project on 22nd and Market, with six counts of third-degree murder, six-counts of involuntarily manslaughter, and 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person. Campbell, District Attorney Seth Williams said today, ignored proper demolition standards out of “greed,” in order to rake in higher profits.

This is the second indictment named in the case since June. The D.A.’s office already charged demolition subcontractor Sean Benschop with six counts of involuntary manslaughter last summer.

Williams says “greed” was motive for not following accepted rules for tearing down building pic.twitter.com/djurDGf8ne

Williams says Campbell was warned that wall was in danger and needed to be taken down by hand night before it fell

Connie Knight, 47, sentenced 57 months for impersonating OSHA

Connie M. Knight, 47, previously of Belle Chasse, La., was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison in New Orleans federal court late yesterday for providing fraudulent hazardous waste safety training in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, announced Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. In addition, Ms. Knight was ordered to pay victim restitution in the amount of $25,300.

“On the heels of the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, Knight illegally profited from a community already suffering from the impacts of the oil spill by impersonating a federal official and raising false hopes for employment. For that she is being held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to environmental justice and will vigorously prosecute those who victimize vulnerable communities.”

“Knight took advantage of an environmental disaster and the resulting vulnerabilities of an immigrant community,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “Her callous crime focused on her financial gain, ignoring the potential harm to the restoration of the Louisiana coastal region.”

On Jan. 24, 2013, Knight pleaded guilty to three felony criminal charges and one misdemeanor criminal charge for creating false identification documents and impersonating a federal official. Court documents explained how, in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Knight impersonated a high-ranking Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector in order to collect money from individuals who hoped to work on the cleanup effort that followed the spill. Knight created and used multiple false federal identifications to bolster her credibility as an OSHA employee and to convince attendees, who were primarily from the Southeast Asian fishing community, that she could ensure them lucrative employment cleaning the spill. In reality, Knight did not have any connection to OSHA, to the cleanup effort, nor did she have training in hazardous waste safety.

Daniel R. Petrole, Deputy Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General stated, “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message to those who would intentionally engage in fraudulent activity that compromises the integrity of the Department of Labor’s OSHA program.”

“The defendant not only defrauded people who were desperate for jobs, but also created a risk that poorly trained workers could expose both themselves and the public to hazardous waste that was improperly handled or cleaned up,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Knight claimed her classes satisfied the various safety requirements that all individuals were to complete in order to be employed at a Deepwater Horizon hazardous waste cleanup site. Her fraudulent classes, however, lasted as little as two hours, while the legitimate certifications would take at least six days of classroom training followed by three days of on-site training. At least some attendees later gained access to hazardous waste cleanup sites based on the fraudulent certifications created by Knight.

“OSHA will not tolerate fraudulent training or unscrupulous activity when workers’ health and lives may be at stake,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Inadequate training jeopardizes the safety and health of workers cleaning up hazardous waste sites.”

At the sentencing, Federal District Court Judge Lance Africk considered statements from victims who recounted how Knight targeted the Southeast Asian fishing communities in southern Louisiana, many of whom did not speak or read English. Court documents explained that because many shrimp grounds were closed from the time of the spill through late 2010, Gulf fishermen had to seek other means of employment. To gain access to these fishermen and their families, Knight convinced young bilingual individuals from Southern Louisiana, who believed her to be an OSHA trainer, that she could be a source of employment for their struggling communities. She then used those individuals to publicize her trainings throughout the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian neighborhoods.

According to court documents, Knight required each attendee to pay between $150 and $300 cash to enter a class, and there were at least 950 victims in the Eastern District of Louisiana. After a short presentation in English, Knight would provide false completion certifications and tell attendees to ready their vessels for BP cleanup work, which she claimed would be coming any day.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the FBI, investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Plaquemines Parish, La., Sheriff’s office.

The case was prosecuted by Patrick M. Duggan of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Emily K. Greenfield of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Matthew Lawrence Bowman, 41, of Houston, pleaded guilty to willfully violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and making a false statements.  He was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison and ordered to pay fines in the amount of $5,000.

The former president of Port Arthur Chemical and Environmental Services LLC (PACES) has been sentenced for occupational safety crimes which resulted in the death of an employee, announced Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and John M. Bales, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

Matthew Lawrence Bowman, 41, of Houston, pleaded guilty on May 9, 2013, to violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and making a false statement and was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone. Bowman was also ordered to pay fines in the amount of $5,000.

Bowman admitted to not properly protecting PACES employees from exposure to hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas resulting in the death of truck driver Joey Sutter on Dec. 18, 2008. In addition, Bowman admitted to directing employees to falsify transportation documents to conceal that the wastewater was coming from PACES after a disposal facility put a moratorium on all shipments from PACES after it received loads containing hydrogen sulfide.

“Today’s sentence is a just punishment for Bowman’s actions, which placed workers at unacceptable risk and had fatal consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dreher. “The Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who violate the laws enacted to ensure the safety of workers handling hazardous materials and to prevent the kind of tragedies that occurred in this case.”

“The government’s prosecution of Matthew Bowman is now complete. While Mr. Bowman is being held accountable for his criminal conduct, and that is appropriate, there is no amount of time in prison; no amount of criminal fine that can be levied that will compensate for the loss of life at PACES. We extend our deepest condolences and well wishes to the friends and family of Mr. Sutter, who died pitilessly and needlessly because of the criminally negligent actions of Matthew Bowman,” said U.S. Attorney Bales. “The agents and prosecutors conducted an outstanding investigation and prosecution.”

“The sentencing today is a clear signal of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT), and its Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) commitment to protecting the public from illegally transported hazardous materials,” said Max Smith, regional Special Agent-in-Charge, USDOT OIG. “Working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues we will continue our vigorous efforts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who would seek to disregard the Nation’s transportation laws and endanger the public.”

“Environmental violations are serious crimes, and in a worst-case scenario, they can kill people,” said Ivan Vikin, special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Texas. “In this case, a senior manger’s actions led directly to the death of one of his employees. This is why we have laws regarding the safe and legal handling of hazardous materials. Enforcement of these laws must be consistent and uncompromising.”

“When a worker loses his or her life on the job, it has a ripple effect on their families, friends, community and the workplace. Matt Bowman and PACES knowingly violated workplace safety standards that led to Joey Sutter’s death,” said OSHA’s Deputy Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. “OSHA standards are in place to protect workers and employers will be held accountable when they fail to follow these standards.”
According to information presented in court, Bowman was president and owner of PACES, located in Port Arthur, Texas, and CES Environmental Services (CES) located in Houston. PACES was in operation from November 2008 to November 2010, and was in the business of producing and selling caustic materials to paper mills. The production of caustic materials involved hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, hydrogen sulfide is an acute toxic substance that is the leading cause of sudden death in the workplace. Employers are required by OSHA to implement engineering and safety controls to prevent employees from exposure above harmful limits of hydrogen sulfide.

Bowman was responsible for approving and directing PACES production operations, the disposal of hydrogen sulfide wastewater, and ensuring implementation of employee safety precautions. In some cases, Bowman personally handled the investigation of work-related employee injuries, directed the transportation of PACES wastewater, and determined what safety equipment could be purchased or maintained. In the cases at issue, hazardous materials were transported illegally with false documents and without the required placards. Most importantly, the workers were not properly protected from exposure to hazardous gases. The exposure resulted in the deaths of two employees, Joey Sutter and Charles Sittig, who were truck drivers, at the PACES facility on Dec. 18, 2008 and Apr. 14, 2009. Placarding is critical to ensure the safety of first responders in the event of an accident or other highway incident. Bowman and PACES were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 18, 2012.

This case was investigated by EPA Criminal Investigation Division; the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General; the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – Environmental Crimes Unit, part of the Texas Environmental Enforcement Task Force; the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department – Environmental Crimes Unit; the Houston Police Department – Major Offenders, Environmental Investigations Unit; the Travis County, Texas – District Attorney’s Office; the Harris County, Texas, District Attorney’s Office – Environmental Crimes Division; the Houston Fire Department; OSHA; the U.S. Coast Guard; the Port Arthur Police Department; and the Port Arthur Fire Department.

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.