New Year's Turns Dangerous for Workers

09 Jan, 2023 Liz Carey


Montgomery, AL ( – The 2022-2023 New Year’s weekend proved dangerous, and in some cases deadly, for workers across the country. 

In Montgomery, Ala., an airport worker was fatally injured on New Year’s Eve when he was “ingested into the engine” of a nearby plane, officials said.  

In a statement, the Montgomery Regional Airport said a ground crew worker was “involved in a fatality” around 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31.  

“We are saddened to hear about the tragic loss of a team member of the AA/Piedmont Airlines, said Wade A. Davis, Executive Director of MGM. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.” 

The worker was an employee of Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of the American Airlines Group. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the worker was “ingested into the engine” of an American Airlines Embraer 170 that was parked at the gate with the engine running.  

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be investigating the incident, the agencies said.  

American Airlines said it was devastated by the accident.  

"We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time," the airline said, declining further comment on the active investigation. 

In Decatur, Ga., a man opened fire on a tire store employee whom he thought was stealing his car, killing him.  

Police said 30-year-old Quadarius McDowell shot 24-year-old Daniel Gordon at Tires Plus around 1:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, as he was test driving McDowell’s car.  

"Just being able to teach somebody who was so interested. He wanted to move up and become an A-Tech like me. He would ask so many questions," the co-worker shared. "Daniel had the paperwork and the keys, that is why I believe something had to be wrong with the dude. In a snap of a second it's like he lost consciousness and forgot where he was and what he came here for.”  

Later on New Year’s Eve, just as the ball was starting to drop in Times Square, a man , whom officials believe had recently been radicalized to jihadism, attacked multiple police officers with a machete.  

Police said at a press conference that the suspect approached the officers and tried to cut them with the machete. One of the officers was hit on the head with the weapon and suffered a fractured skull, while another one suffered from a laceration. A third officer was reportedly injured while responding to the incident. All three were taken to the hospital, authorities said.  

The New York Post identified the assailant as Trevor Bickford, 19, of Wells, Maine. Police said Bickford was shot in the shoulder during the attack and was taken to the hospital.  

And on New Year’s Day, a Dollar Tree employee was killed after a customer attacked her with a machete.  

Officers in Upper Sandusky found Keris Riebel, 22, dead at the store after an attack at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.  

Police said 27-year-old Bethel Bekele entered the store and approached Riebel, and then struck her “numerous times with the machete.”  

“On January 01, 2023, at 4:25 p.m. the Upper Sandusky Police Department was dispatched to Dollar Tree for a man waving a weapon around inside the store,” the police department tweeted. “Before police arrived, the man left the store. Officers arrived and found a female employee deceased. A short time later an officer located a suspect and he was taken into custody.” 

Police are still looking for a motive for the killing, and are investigating whether the two knew each other. 

Riedel recently married Jordan Riebel in October. The young woman graduated from Wynford High School in Bucyrus, about 20 miles east of Upper Sandusky, in 2019.  

“Keris was a beautiful soul, with a faith-filled heart,” the school district said. “She exuded genuine kindness to everyone she met and her smile was unforgettable. Keris was taken way too soon and will forever live in the hearts of the Wynford community.”  

A GoFundMe! account to cover funeral expenses, time off work for Jordan Riebel and grief counseling for the family was set up. As of Tuesday night, the account was over $59,000. 

“As a young couple life insurance was not on their minds, and Jordan is left with the expense of the funeral and burial along with lost wages for taking time off work to grieve,” the page said. “Keris was a beautiful soul and anyone who met her would say how sweet and kind she was.  Keris just graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and was looking forward to starting her career.” 

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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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