Little Valley accident leads to worker's death
Sutton was working at the transfer station at 3:45 p.m. and Randy Shellenbarger, 45, of Little Valley, was a customer, according to the Redding CHP report.
Shellenbarger spoke to Sutton, and then backed up his 1989 Dodge pickup truck toward a garbage bin.
“At some point, Sutton walked behind or was standing behind Shellengarger’s vehicle,” the report said. “Shellenbarger did not see Sutton and continued backing his vehicle. The back bumper knocked Sutton to the ground and pinned him between the vehicle’s bumper and the trash bin.”
Feeling the impact and thinking he’d hit the trash bin, Shellenbarger left the driver’s seat to check the back of the truck and found Sutton, according to the Lassen County Sheriff’s Department report. Shellenbarger ran to the payment area and asked Sutton’s wife Barbara to call 911.
She said there was no cell service at the transfer station, so, Shellenbarger raced to the nearest house to call 911. Emergency medical personnel responded and administered life-saving efforts for 45 minutes, but Sutton was pronounced dead at the scene.
The CHP report said blunt force head trauma caused Sutton’s death.
Lassen County Personnel Director Ron Vossler said Sutton worked as a gatekeeper at the transfer station for six years. He said a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator has already been to the work site and done an inspection. The investigator has not yet issued a written report.
Vossler said the OSHA investigator told the county safety officer, who went with the OSHA investigator to the transfer station, he could see no workplace violations.
Vossler said the CHP report is still open and the CHP hasn’t concluded its investigation.
“Obviously it’s a tragedy,” Vossler said. “We feel badly for the family. (Investigators) believe — what I have read so far is that it was an accident — but they aren’t concluding anything.”
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