Local News

OSHA To Investigate I-85 Crane Accident That Killed Chapel Hill Lawyer

Posted February 22, 2002

— The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be called in to investigate an accident on I-85 in Alamance County that killed a Chapel Hill lawyer.

Steven Edward Whitesell, 37, was killed Thursday afternoon when a construction crane toppled and dropped a large pipe onto a car traveling northbound on Interstate 85.

Authorities said the accident occurred at 4:45 p.m. near Exit 141 in western Alamance County. All northbound traffic was stopped until 6:20 p.m.

The accident happened in a construction zone where improvements are being made to the busy Elon University exit from I-85.

Patrol officials said the crane tipped over and dropped a large caisson, which is a cylindrical form used to pour and form concrete. It dropped onto the northbound lanes, killing the motorist.

Another crane was summoned to remove the caisson from the vehicle and help right the partially overturned crane.

Traffic was backed up for at least five miles in either direction after the rush-hour accident.

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