Gerdau Ameristeel worker dies in Friday mill accident
by Marie Nesmith and Brande Poulnot
Jul 25, 2010 | 16992 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 55-year-old Kennesaw man involved in a Friday on-the-job incident at Gerdau Ameristeel's Cartersville steel mill, 384 Old Grassdale Road, died from multiple blunt force traumas.

Bartow County Deputy Coroner Brian Irish said Lewis "Bill" Leary, an engineer with the company since at least 2006, was overrun by a forklift. In a Friday phone interview, Gerdau Ameristeel's director of external communications and public affairs, Philip Bell, indicated Leary was "struck by a piece of heavy, mobile equipment.

"I can confirm that there was a fatality that occurred at approximately 7:25 [Friday] morning at our Cartersville facility," Bell said. "The investigation is ongoing. We are fully cooperating with the authorities and our hearts and prayers go out to our employee's family. Management at our Cartersville facility as well as corporate personnel in our safety and operations department [are conducting the] ... safety investigation. Of course, anything this serious, we always have to notify authorities."

Irish, who added the 911 call was logged at 7:36 a.m., said several emergency services organizations responded to the scene, including Bartow's fire and EMS, and three other agencies -- Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Bartow County Sheriff's Office and Bartow County Coroner -- would conduct simultaneous investigations.

"[The forklift driver] was not injured. He had some emotional [issues]. At this point, it is still accidental but investigation is ongoing," Irish said. "Multiple investigations are going on. We all three do our own and then come together, have a meeting of the minds."

Leary's body was scheduled to be transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab to undergo an autopsy set for Monday morning. Irish said autopsies are required by state law in cases of occupational deaths.