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Washington Times-Reporter - Washington, IL
  • Jury rules construction zone death an accident

  • James Davis was working with a bulldozer operator to level a section of road Sept. 20, 2012, along Illinois Route 8 in Washington. It was their last section of the day when the bulldozer struck Davis, crushing him.
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  • James Davis was working with a bulldozer operator to level a section of road Sept. 20, 2012, along Illinois Route 8 in Washington.
    It was their last section of the day when the bulldozer struck Davis, crushing him.
    A Tazewell County coroner’s jury ruled Jan. 24 that the death of Davis, 53, of Atlanta, was an accident.
    The autopsy report concluded Davis died from multiple catastrophic injuries from being hit by the bulldozer.
    Davis was part of a construction crew from Stark Construction in Bloomington that was grading a part of Route 8 near Legion Road as part of a $10 million road construction project through Washington.
    Illinois State Trooper Jeremy Carnes said Davis and the bulldozer operator had been working together all day. The operator would spread dirt over a section and Davis would measure the area to check that the grade was correct.
    “It was the last few passes of the day,” Carnes told the coroner’s jury at the inquest held in Pekin. “The bulldozer operator said he backed up to get more dirt and looked over his left shoulder when he felt the machine jar.”
    The bulldozer operator, who was not identified, was visibly shaken by the accident, Carnes said. “People I interviewed told me that Mr. Davis had been in construction all his life and he was aware of the dangers of working around the large machinery,” Carnes told the jury. “They had been moving dirt and grading dirt all day without any problems.”
    Carnes said there did not appear to be any malfunctions in the bulldozer which was “fairly new.”
    Toxicology reports showed Davis had trace levels of cannabis in his system, but Tazewell County Coroner Dr. James Baldi said it was not enough to be a factor in the accident.
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