Company is "heartbroken" after death of employee at Tyler Pipe -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Company is "heartbroken" after death of employee at Tyler Pipe

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A contractor for D.H. Griffin who was killed in an accident at Tyler Pipe on Wednesday has been identified.

According to a statement released by D.H. Griffin's attorney, Joel DeLeon was killed after the Bobcat he was driving backed into a concrete pit. Justice of the Peace James Cowart said the fall killed the man instantly.

Justice of the Peace James Cowart said, "Death was pretty instantaneous. A lot of it was just trying to get him out of that pit. The pit still had some sand in it. Pretty damp and mushy in there. They just want to try to protect everyone who was in there trying to get him out and extract him from the situation. We had to lift the Bobcat off of him and then get him out from under it."

Longview's technical rescue team and Lindale's special operations team worked for several hours working to get the victim's body out of the pit.

DeLeon worked for D.H. Griffin for nine years and had been working in Tyler for the past six months demolishing the Tyler South Ductile Fittings Plant.

"I cannot even begin to express how saddened I am by this horrible tragedy. Joel had been with us for a long time. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife and children and his whole family. Our entire company is grieving over Joel's death," said John Angelina, the president of D.H. Griffin.

DeLeon was from Houston. Don Tomlinson, the attorney for D.H. Griffin, said his wife was visiting him in Tyler when she was told about his death. 

Tomlinson also said, until this incident, D.H. Griffin went 5,500 days without a lost time injury, that's 15 years. 

"I'm very confident they were doing what they were supposed to be doing in the context of safety," Tomlinson said.

The Smith County Sheriff's Office is the lead investigator on this case. OSHA is completing their own investigation. D.H. Griffin is also investigating DeLeon's death. 

DeLeon's body has been taken in for an autopsy in Tyler. 

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