The Heart of the Matter

These sad and avoidable events were reported in the Long Beach Press Telegram of 11/03/2006.

“Two port truck drivers were crushed to death within a two-hour span late Thursday, including a man whose teenage son apparently backed over him on Terminal Island.

“The latter incident occurred on Pier 400 in the Port of Los Angeles, where a 16-year old boy accidentally backed a truck over his father, 49, as they were picking up a cargo container, said spokeswoman Theresa Adams-Lopez.

“The accident occurred at the APM Maersk Terminal at about 10:38 p.m. The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) and U.S. Coast Guard are conducting a joint investigation.

“It was unclear whether the boy was authorized to be operating the vehicle, though it’s unlikely given his age. He was questioned by Los Angeles Port Police and released pending further investigation, Adams-Lopez said.

“Port police declined to say if the teen had a driver’s license.

“Earlier in the night, a 53-year-old Missouri man was crushed while working at the Transport Express trucking yard in unincorporated Rancho Dominguez.

“The accident occurred at about 8:25 p.m. at 19801 S. Santa Fe Ave., where the victim was hit by a cargo truck driven by a 23-year-old Florida man, said Highway Patrol Officer David Porter.

“The driver apparently didn’t see the man in the rear parking lot, pinning him between the truck and an unidentified fixed object, authorities said.

“The victim was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where he died from his injuries, Porter said.

“Transport Express handles cargo transportation, warehousing and distribution at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, according to its website.”

In describing conventional and primitive container handling operations in the past, we’ve used the terms “helter-skelter”, “willy-nilly”, “topsy-turvy”and “herky-jerky” when criticizing the lack of foresight on the part of port and terminal officials. If our efficient and safe space-saving systems of storage, retrieval and delivery had been retrofitted at the LA-Long Beach complex, those two “unidentified” workers would still be alive. A lot of folks are being short-changed.