Skip to content

Rocky Mountain District

Accident Investigation Report

Fatal Powered Haulage

Plant 9000
I.D. No. 14-01040
Konza Constr. Co., Inc.
Junction City, Geary County, Kansas

February 24, 1997


Tyrone Goodspeed
Supervisory Mine Safety & Health Inspector

John R. King
Mine Safety & Health Inspector

Rocky Mountain District Office
P.O. Box 25367, DFC
Denver, CO 80225-0367

Robert M. Friend
District Manager


Val D. Carlow, truck driver, age 49, was fatally injured on February 24, 1997, at approximately 2:15 p.m., when his truck overturned into the dredge pond. He was pinned between the cab and the pond bottom. Carlow had a total of 5 years 10 months mining experience, all at this mine. He had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48.

John Trygg, president of Konza Constr. Co., Inc., notified MSHA of the accident on February 25, 1997, at 8:40 a.m.

Plant 9000 mine was owned and operated by Konza Constr. Co., Inc., and was located two miles northwest of Junction City, Geary County, Kansas. Sand was mined with a pumping dredge and the material was screened and then stockpiled at various locations on the site. Mine employment consisted of 5 persons working one, 8-10 hour shift a day, 5 days a week.

Principal operating officials were:
John Trygg, President
David Walker, Secretary/Treasurer
Donald Nelson, Superintendent

The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on October 16, 1996. Another inspection was conducted following the completion of this investigation.


The accident occurred at the northwest area of the dredge pond, approximately 600 feet from a mine access roadway. The area traveled by the victim in the truck after exiting the roadway to the accident site was not a road or other area commonly traveled by vehicles. This area contained old equipment used by the company for salvage.

The vertical distance from the top of the pond bank to the water was about 40 feet. The bank sloped nearly 90 degrees for a distance of about 5 feet from the top and at approximately 45 degrees from there to the water.

Involved in the accident was a 1992, Ford CFT 8000 tandem axle dump truck, Serial No. 1FDYH85A4NV, Company No. 259. The truck was equipped with a 7.8 liter, 8-cylinder diesel engine producing 210-hp at 2300 rpm and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Primary braking was provided with an air-over-hydraulic front and rear disc brake system. Inspection of the truck after the accident revealed no mechanical defects nor were there defects affecting safety.

When the vehicle was inspected subsequent to the accident, the transmission gear selector lever was in "drive". The speedometer displayed 9 miles-per-hour and the tachometer read 500 rpm.

The interior of the cab was intact, but there was minor damage to the left side of the exterior. The driver's side window was rolled down when the truck was inspected after the accident. The victim was not wearing the seatbelt provided in the vehicle.


At about 9:30 a.m., on the day of the accident, Kathy Sayers, office manager for Konza Construction Company, contacted the victim, Val D. Carlow, at his home. Sayers asked Carlow to report for work to deliver sand to customers. Carlow had been laid off for the winter.

Carlow reported to Donald Nelson, superintendent, at about 10:15 a.m. Nelson assigned Carlow to drive truck No. 259. He went to the shop to get the keys and remarked to the two mechanics that he wasn't feeling well and should have stayed home. He made no other comment as to his health or medical condition.

Carlow hauled four loads of sand to an off-site customer without incident. Each round trip took about 45 minutes. After receiving his fifth load he drove toward the scales by way of the usual route (See Appendix C). Instead of following the established traffic pattern as he neared the scales, he passed the scales traveling in a north and west direction for .4 of a mile on a mine roadway.

At this point the truck turned left off of the roadway and traveled across an open area toward the mine salvage yard. The truck continued in a straight line for a distance of 600 feet toward the north rim of the dredge pond. Approximately 33 feet from the rim of the pond embankment the left wheels of the truck traveled through a washout. The truck continued to travel parallel to the pond for 22 feet when it slid down the embankment and overturned onto the driver's side and came to rest in approximately 3 feet of water.

The victim was found with his arm and upper body pinned between the frame of the driver's side window and the bottom of the dredge pond.

Three employees working in the area observed the truck as it was overturning. They immediately went to the accident site and attempted to free Carlow, but were unsuccessful. A crane being used on site was brought over to lift the truck. Local emergency personnel arrived and extricated Carlow. He was administered CPR at the scene and then transported to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead by the attending physician.

Earlier in the day Carlow had complained to the office manager and the secretary that he wasn't feeling well. He did not ask to be relieved of duty. He took an unknown quantity of acetaminophen and cold tablets from the dispenser at the scale house. He was not seen ingesting the medication.

The victim's blood alcohol level was determined by autopsy to be 0.04 grams per 100 milliliters. Under Kansas statute, a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% is considered impaired.


The reasons for this fatal accident could not be fully determined; however, contributing factors to the accident were:
The victim was not feeling well as evidenced by his complaints to coworkers and the fact that he had removed pain relievers and cold medication from the scale house on the date of the accident. He may have taken this medication with the elevated blood alcohol level.

Contributing to the severity of injuries was the fact that the victim was not wearing the seatbelt provided in the vehicle.


Order No. 4351842
Issued at 9:30 a.m., February 25, 1997, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:

An employee was fatally injured at about 2:30 p.m., on 2/24/97, when he drove his loaded haul truck into a dredge pond. This order is written to ensure the safety of miners until the accident scene and equipment involved in the accident have been examined and deemed safe by investigation findings. The order will remain in effect until such time as MSHA and other authorized agencies have completed an investigation. The order will be modified as the investigation findings release areas deemed safe for mine employees.

This order was terminated on completion of the onsite investigation on February 26, 1997.

Citation No. 4351841
Issued under the provisions of Section 104(a) on February 25, 1997, for violation of 30 CFR 50.10:

An employee was fatally injured at about 2:30 p.m., on 2/24/97, when he drove his loaded haul truck into a dredge pond. The accident was not reported until 8:40 a.m., on 2/25/97, when the company called the Topeka, Kansas Field Office. A death of an individual at a mine is immediately reportable to MSHA.

This citation was terminated February 25, 1997.

Citation No. 4643924
Issued under the provisions of Section 104(a) on March 4, 1997, for violation of 30 CFR 56.14131(a):

A fatal accident occurred at about 2:30 p.m., on 2/24/97, when a dump truck overturned onto the driver's side after going over the dredge pond bank, coming to rest in about 3 feet of water. The victim was partially ejected through the open driver's side window and was pinned. The truck operator was not wearing the seatbelt in the dump truck.

This citation was terminated March 4, 1997.

Tyrone Goodspeed
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

John King
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Approved by: Robert M. Friend, District Manager

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB97M13]