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Construction worker killed at site

Harry Langley, 40, was crushed while trying to fix a John Deere front-end loader.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published February 9, 2006


[Times photo: Melissa Lyttle]
Ricky Eppard, 25, foreman for Bedrock Pacers hangs his head as the coroner's office removes the body of a worker who was killed after the bucket on a John Deere front end loader fell and crushed him while he was attempting to repair the hydraulic lift Thursday morning.

TAMPA - Henry Langley paid $50 for a broken-down red Nissan pickup truck and rebuilt the engine.

Friends called him "Junior," and they knew him as the guy who could fix anything.

Langley, 40, died Thursday morning while doing what he knew best.

He was crushed when the 1,000-pound bucket of a John Deere front-end loader suddenly dropped as he lay beneath it making repairs, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Investigators aren't sure exactly what time the incident happened.

But Langley arrived at the leased property of Bedrock Pavers, on the corner of W Tyson Avenue and S Manhattan Avenue, at 8:30 a.m. and started fixing the loader, which had a hydraulic leak.

Bedrock owner John T. Lazzara, 45, wanted Langley to fix the loader so that workers could move debris from the site, which came under fire recently for code enforcement problems, McElroy said.

At 9 a.m. two Bedrock workers arrived and started clearing debris. They told police they didn't see Langley, and they never heard any noise or commotion coming from the loader.

About 10:15 a.m., Lazzara arrived. He saw Langley's red pickup truck parked next to the loader but didn't see Langley. He walked around the front of the loader. That's when he saw Langley's body, McElroy said.

Paramedics rushed to the scene, but efforts to revive Langley proved futile, McElroy said.

Lazzara, also owner of Lazzara Fine Wine & Spirits in Tampa, would not speak to reporters.

But he told police that Langley had worked on the front-end loader dozens of times. Langley was the only person who ever worked on the piece of equipment, Lazzara told investigators.

"For him, repairing something is like taking a walk," McElroy said. "He fixes everything."

OSHA investigators will try to determine why the bucket fell, McElroy said.

-- Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com

[Last modified February 9, 2006, 18:07:02]


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