Construction Worker Falls to His Death in Freak Accident

A construction worker fell to his death early Friday when the bucket truck he was working in was struck by a tractor-trailer on the Parkway East, authorities said.

The man, identified by the medical examiner’ office as Derek Cronk, 41, of Bridgeport, Ohio, was in a bucket truck that was working in the left lane of Interstate 376 in South Oakland, according to state police. The bucket was extended out over the right lane.

A tractor-trailer hit the bottom of the bucket truck shortly after 3 a.m., police said, which caused the bucket to spin on its axis. The worker was thrown from the bucket and fell over the overpass.

The man was taken to UPMC Mercy, where he later died.

Rocco Gagliardi, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police in Pittsburgh, said the driver of the vehicle is not in custody and that the individual stayed at the scene to speak with troopers.

Troopers determined there was no suspicion that the individual was driving under the influence. 

Mr. Gagliardi said the department is reviewing whether the site had proper signage and lighting that evening. He said the area was an active construction site and has previously used the proper safety tools. 

Mr. Cronk was working on a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation project, according to spokesman Steve Cowan. However, Mr. Cowan said the man was not employed by PennDOT. 

PennDOT will not be providing a statement until the investigation into Mr. Cronk’s death is complete, Mr. Cowan said. 

Crews were doing preservation work on both the Boulevard of the Allies and Route 885 mainline bridges, according to Mr. Cowan. The project totals $35.4 million and includes repairs to the bridges’ decks and overlays, steel superstructure and substructures, replacements of bearings and drainage, and other jobs. 

The incident shut down the Parkway East near the Forbes Avenue exit for hours. The interstate reopened about 7:15 a.m., according to PennDOT.

State police are investigating.

Original Article

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