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Wrongful Death Suit Settled with Family of Worker at Joliet Asphalt Company

Last Updated: 05 November, 2012

A lawsuit brought against a Joliet asphalt company in regards to the 2004 death of a Channahon man has been settled.

Jason Shelton, 26, was working at the Gallagher Asphalt Corp. at their Brandon Road facility on a November night just before Thanksgiving of 2004. He was monitoring the flow of sand in a bin that narrowed at the bottom.

Shelton radioed other crew members to come bang on the bin as the cold temperatures were making the material stick together. Minutes later those crew members found Shelton buried in the sand-like material. His death was determined to be suffocation.

The suit filed by Shelton’s widow, Melissa Shelton, stated that Shelton fell through the open grate of the catwalk he had been standing on and became trapped in the sand-like material in the bin as there was no way to get out per the configuration of the bin. The removable grate was an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violation as well which has been a recommended safety measure since the 1950s.

Gallagher Materials Corp., the company that manufactures and sold the asphalt at the Brandon Road facility, disputed Shelton’s claims and stated that Jason had jumped into the bin to loosen the material.

In the settlement, Gallagher Materials agrees to pay Melissa Shelton most of the $3.5 Million award. Approximately $250,000 will be paid by the manufacturer of the bin and the company that did maintenance on the bin, both of whose names are confidential at this time.

Some accidents at a workplace leave a permanent hole in a family. If you or a loved one has lost someone in a workplace accident, call Spiros Law, P.C. at (815) 929-9292 to discuss your legal rights.