Family of Trucker Crushed to Death Files Lawsuit Seeking Damages and Answers
Miami, FL – The family of a trucker who was crushed and killed when a load of steel beams fell on him at a warehouse in Pompano Beach in September is now suing his employer for wrongful death.
The tragic incident took place around 6 a.m. on September 16 at a warehouse belonging to Kloeckner Metals, located along Northwest 12th Avenue and 16th Street in Pompano Beach.
Authorities said Sylvester Roulhac, 71, of Coral Springs, FL, was at the warehouse to pick up a load of steel beams.
According to a spokesperson for the Pompano Beach Fire Rescue (PBFR), Roulhac was securing his load before leaving the warehouse when a stack of 40-foot-long beams, loaded on a nearby truck, became “unstable” and fell on top of him, crushing him to death.
In total, six beams fell on Roulhac.
Each beam measured 6-by-4 inches and weighed over 1,000 lbs. each, PBFR said.
In a press conference following the accident, Sandra King from PBFR, said nobody was present in the warehouse when the beams fell on Roulhac and his body was found a short time later.
Authorities said recovery efforts to get Raulhac’s body took “hours” as the Broward Sherrif’s Office tactical rescue team had to remove one beam at a time using a crane.
Raulhac’s body was immediately transferred to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office to undergo an autopsy.
“This appears to be a horrible, freak accident,” King said. “We don’t know what caused that metal to be unstable, but something happened and that metal fell on him and crushed him.”
Raulhac’s family, however, believes the accident may have been preventable.
On Friday, October 11, survivors of Raulhac filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kloeckner Metals.
“It’s been over a month and we have no answers as to what’s taken place with our father. It’s just a travesty that something like this could happen to somebody, it could’ve happened to anybody, and we want answers,” Raulhac’s daughter, Jennifer Simplize, said.
According to the family’s attorney, Judd Rosen, the family is seeking monetary damages “for the loss that this family’s gone though,” as well as punitive damages against Kloeckner Metals “for their gross negligence in the way that they took care of their facility.”
“They (the family) want to know how their husband, father, grandfather, friend, how he tragically died,” Rosen said. “Was this preventable? Who dropped the ball and why was this carelessness allowed to exist on a multinational company’s property?”
Raulhac’s death remains under investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow this case.
Photo courtesy of wplg/family of Sylvester Roulhac