A construction site supervisor told police that a 24-year-old man died at a McAllen construction site last week after employees of a subcontractor used a forklift in an unsafe manner, according to a police report
Adonlis Ramos Soriano, 24, who is from Tabasco, Mexico, died after a wooden box he was in flipped over and off of a forklift, a police report states. He fell out of the wooden box, which landed on the back of his head, according to the report.
At the time, Soriano was cleaning texture off of a portion of wall between the first and second floors at the Las Palomas mixed-income development at 1900 Dove Ave.
The accident occurred at approximately 5:14 p.m. on Aug. 20.
Soriano’s friend, Juan Roberto Cortez Jimenez, who is also from Tabasco, Mexico, was also in the wooden box cleaning texture off the wall about 8 to 10 feet in the air when Soriano reached over the side of the box to hand a scraping tool to a man on the ground.
“Mr. Cortez stated he then began to switch places with (Soriano), as to keep the wooden box balanced, but then the box flipped over,” the report states.
Cortez told police that he ended up under the box when it fell to the ground, according to the report.
“Mr. Cortez stated the side of the box then fell on (Soriano’s) head as he fell face down on the sidewalk,” responding officer J. Salinas wrote in a report,
Juan Lucio Garcia, the forklift’s operator, told the responding officer that he and several employees rushed to help lift the box off of Soriano, who he could not identify by name, but the man was unresponsive and began to bleed heavily.
“Mr. Cortez (said) he along with others lifted the box off of (Soriano), but there was nothing else they could do,” the police report states.
The officer described Cortez, who lived with Soriano, his friend, in Elsa, as “very distraught.”
Construction site superintendent Jason Fuentes, who works for the Brownstone Group, which is working with the McAllen Housing Authority on the development, told police he was not at the site of the accident when it happened, but rushed to the location when informed.
“Mr. Fuentes stated that using the forklift in that manner was not the property (sic) or safe way to operate it,” the officer wrote in the report. “Mr. Fuentes stated that same method of operation had been done previously and they had been informed not to do so.”
Fuentes told the officer the employees involved in the accident were employed by a subcontractor, Riverside Masonry, which the site superintendent said is owned by Jerry Garcia.
“I then called Mr. Garcia the first time and there was no answer,” the report states. “I called a second time minutes later and the phone had been turned off.”
Texas Comptroller records show Riverside Masonry is owned by Gerardo Garcia.
Sometime later, safety inspector Pablo Reyes Jr. arrived and told police he was not at the location at the time of the accident, according to the report.
“Mr. Reyes (said) he would visit the site about once a month,” the officer wrote in the report. “Mr. Reyes stated the operation of the telehandler was not correct since it did not have a proper man lift cage attachment, and did not meet (Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration) regulations. Mr. Reyes stated he would also be conducting an investigation into the matter as well.”
OSHA records indicate an investigation was initiated the day after the fatal accident and remains open.