Employees Killed in Workplace Accidents

27 Dec, 2023 Liz Carey


Leacock Township, PA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Several employees were killed in on-the-job accidents last week including one who was killed when the inn she was working in exploded.

John E. Smucker, II, owner of the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn said Michelle Miller, the inn’s night auditor had worked at the inn for 34 years.

“Michelle was a long-time and much-loved member of the Bird-in-Hand family, and we are heartbroken by her tragic loss,” said John E. Smucker, II, Bird-in-Hand’s president and chief executive officer in a statement. “We are committed to honoring her memory.”

Miller was killed when a propane leak caused an explosion at the inn around 8 a.m. on Dec. 18. The explosion caused between $1 and $2 million in damage, officials said. About the only thing left standing, police said, was the bell over the inn’s office.

Smucker said the inn was closed for maintenance and cleaning at the time, so there were very few people inside. The company held a candlelight vigil for Miller and will remain closed until further notice, Smucker said.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the blast.

In Tampa, a postal worker died in a hit-and-run as he was delivering mail.

Officials with the Tampa Police Department said Christopher Prater, 56, was arrested and charged with “leaving the scene of a crash with death, and driving on a suspended license” after he hit 69-year-old letter carrier, Paul Falica.

On Dec. 18, Prater was driving a Mercedes near downtown Tampa when he hit Falica’s mail truck. After hitting the mail truck, Prater took off. The car was found about a half-mile from the accident, damaged slightly. Falica died at the scene, officials said. 

“The Postal Service is deeply saddened by the loss of our postal family member,” the U.S. Postal Service said in a statement. “Our condolences and thoughts go out to his family, friends, and co-workers.”

Neighbors on the Falica’s route said he had hoped to retire in February after working for the post office for more than 20 years.

In Akron, Ohio, a retail worker at a Borders Drive Thru was killed over a cigar.

Police in Akron said 21-year-old Ahmad Alibrahim was killed as he was working he drive thru window of the store. Police said 26-year-old Da’Quan Mar’Ta Isaac approached the drive thru window on Dec. 16 and attempted to purchase a cigar.

"The suspect reportedly handed the employee a bill in poor and unacceptable condition," according to Akron police. "The suspect then began arguing with the clerk, produced the firearm and demanded the cigar. The employee then gave the suspect the item and asked him to leave. Before doing so, the suspect fired at least two shots at the group of employees inside the establishment, striking the victim."

Alibrahim was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is one of the most senseless murders in our community,” said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott. “We will not let fugitives like this roam the streets.”

And in Richmond, Va., a Dollar General employee was killed during an armed robbery this week.

Police with the Richmond Police Department said they were called to the store for a robbery and shooting. When they arrived, the employee was inside the store with a  gunshot wound. The employee was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Witnesses said customers ran from the building following the shooting.

"I mean what kind of money do they got at Dollar General?" Alterick Gaston told WTVR News. Gaston said he shops at Dollar General often. "He was a real positive guy. We talked about life in general and you know how the prices of things are so high it's squeezing pennies. This store is good for our community."

Gaston said he was saddened by the crime scene.

"Unfortunately, it happened at this time of year," Gaston said. "Unfortunately, it happened at all where families get together and things like that. It's senseless violence. For you to kill a store clerk at Dollar General, there's really no money there. It's a dollar store."

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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