A 22-year veteran of Rhode Island’s public works department was killed last month after a tractor-trailer truck ran over his chest.
Police responded to a workplace accident at the Westerly Town Highway Garage, and found Angelo Turano, 53, chief mechanic for the Department of Public Works, on the ground in front of the rear tires of an 18-wheeler. It appeared the truck had run over Turano’s chest. He was immediately transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to a preliminary investigation report, the driver of the tractor-trailer was having a problem with the truck’s brakes and was instructed by Turano to park the truck in the garage so he could inspect it. After inspection, Turano reportedly told the driver to have the brakes repaired at a later date, and to take the truck back to the Johnston landfill where he was headed. The driver then walked around the 40-foot vehicle and got back into the driver’s seat. That’s when Turano apparently leaned back under the truck.
“I don’t know if the investigation will ever reveal” why Turano did so, said Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey.
The driver, unaware that the mechanic had tucked back under the truck, released his air brakes, knocking Turano over and rolling over his chest.
At this time, no charges have been filed against the driver, and the incident is now under investigation by the Department of Labor and Training, which will determine if all policies and procedures were followed and whether any additional measures need to be taken to better ensure worker safety.