On April 13th, 2015, a construction crew in Bonney Lake, Oregon knocked a large chunk of concrete off an overpass, resulting in three days. Two days later, newspaper reporters revealed that the subcontractor involved in the project, Staton Construction, had committed a violation of state statute during a previous project, the demolition of the Sauvie Island Bridge in 2008.
It is unknown why the state chose to work with a contractor with a history of violating rules. What is known is that during the work on the Bonney Lake overpass, the crew was supposed to demolish walkways and concrete guardrails. While doing so, some of the dislodged concrete fell and crushed a pickup truck, killing a family of three.
Tragedies like this are always terrible, but it somehow seems even more terrible because it was so preventable. Proper safety protocols would require not moving heavy concrete while vehicles are passing directly beneath them. Proper safety protocols wouldn’t allow hiring a contractor with a history of deviating from plans.
This is at least the third incident for Staton construction, including:
- The recent accident resulting in the death of three people at the Bonney Bridge overpass
- The improper and dangerous collapse of the northern span of the Sauvie Island Bridge during demolition
- Multiple citations by Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Families are still awaiting word on whether or not safety protocols were followed, but even if they technically were it is clear that the situation was not safe. Removing concrete from an overpass while vehicles move at high speeds on the highway below can never be safe.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, it is important that you contact a qualified attorney. Contractors frequently deviate from plans and safety protocols, and the only way to make sure they don’t continue to do so in the future is to use the power of the courts.