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Family sues company over fatal industrial accident in Waco

Family sues company over fatal industrial accident in Waco

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The widow of a worker at Versalift Southwest’s plant in Waco who was killed in a work-related incident in May is suing the company’s parent corporation.

Elizabeth Reinke, widow of Wesley Allan Reinke, and the mother of their two young children, is seeking more than $1 million in damages in her suit against Time Manufacturing Co. The suit was filed Tuesday on the family’s behalf in Waco’s 414th State District Court by Waco attorneys John Mabry Jr., John Lewis and J.R. Vicha.

Reinke, 32, of McGregor, who led a team of welders, was working at the plant at 7601 Imperial Drive in West Waco when a crane fell on him, the lawsuit alleges.

A Time Manufacturing spokesperson who declined to give her name said Tuesday that no one at the company would comment on the lawsuit.

“At said time and place, a crane fell on Wesley and struck him in the head, causing catastrophic and ultimately fatal injuries,” according to the lawsuit. “Wesley remained entrapped under the crane for over 10 minutes until he was extricated and transported by ambulance to a local emergency room, where he died.”

The lawsuit alleges negligence and gross negligence against the company, charging Time officials failed to provide proper tools and equipment; failed to properly train its employees; failed to properly supervise employees to ensure a safe work environment; failed to properly maintain work equipment; and failed to properly test and inspect work equipment.

“Cranes aren’t supposed to fall on workers, and this family has suffered a catastrophic loss,” Mabry said. “We look forward to obtaining justice for Mrs. Reinke and her children.”

Also, the suit alleges Time failed to warn Reinke of the defective or dangerous condition of the work equipment; failed to reduce work hazards; failed to implement safety guidelines and procedures; and exposed Reinke to dangerous work conditions.

“These conditions and activities existed despite the fact that defendant and its agents and/or employees knew or through the exercise of due diligence should have known of the existence of the aforementioned conditions and that there was a likelihood of a person being injured or killed as occurred with Wesley Allan Reinke,” the lawsuit alleges.

Versalift, a Time Manufacturing company, has two facilities in Waco, on Imperial Drive and Texas Central Parkway. Versalift makes vehicle-mounted aerial lifts used for telephone and power line maintenance sometimes known as “cherry pickers.”

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