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Two Landfill Employees Die in Pipe Accident in Suffolk

As your lawyer, I do everything in my power to get you results.- Jim Hurley

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Two Landfill Employees Die in Pipe Accident in Suffolk

I was horrified to read about the deaths of two landfill employees who ended up trapped in an underground pipe in Suffolk.

The men were trapped in a vertical concrete pipe on Tuesday, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

They were identified by police as Eric O’Brien Williams, 35, of Portsmouth, and 60-year-old Stephen Louis Wilk of Moyock, N.C. The men were employees at John C. Holland Enterprises, Inc., off of Nansemond Parkway, according to media reports.

WAVY report on the landfill tragedy

The City of Suffolk said fire and rescue were called to the landfill at about 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday. It’s not clear who raised the alarm or how long the men were trapped in the pipe before help arrived. Suffolk Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Ted Adams said the pipe was three feet wide and 20 feet deep.

The men were in a culvert. They had a ladder. First responders are trying to piece together the last movements of the men before this tragic accident.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims at this tragic time. Family members told local TV news stations they have little idea about what went wrong.

Fire Crews from Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach provided assistance to the crews from Suffolk. They faced uneven and damp terrain at the 70-acre landfill site. The two men were reported to be unresponsive by the time rescuers arrived at the scene.

Suffolk Police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate the incident.

Every year we see a handful of fatal industrial accidents in Hampton Roads. We noted how garbage and recycling workers are among the top 10 most dangerous professions in the United States.

When workers die on the job, there are often many unanswered questions. I help many people who are injured on dangerous premises and the families of loved ones who have lost their lives.

There are a lot of inherent dangers on landfill sites but the owners and operators have a duty to operate the sites as safely as they can and to not leave hidden dangers.

If you have lost a loved one in an industrial accident, please call me at (757) 455-0077 or see our page on injuries at a business.


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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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