Fatal accident at construction site kills decorated officer

No one can dispute the fact that police officers put themselves in danger every day. But sometimes the danger comes from unexpected places. A Westfield, Massachusetts, officer was killed when a dump truck hit him while he was directing traffic at a construction site. No charges have been filed but OSHA is investigating the fatal accident.

Jose Torres, a 27-year-veteran of the Westfield Police Department, was working the construction detail when he was injured. He was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield where he died shortly thereafter from his injuries. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Torres had been cited at least two times during his career for heroism. He thwarted an attempted suicide in 1996 by climbing a fire escape and stopping a man from jumping. When the man jumped back through another window to escape Torres, he caused permanent scarring to the officer’s face. In 2000, Torres was charged with the responsibility of stopping speeding vehicles and barely escaped injury when he used a ‘stinger spike’ to stop a car.

The site where Torres was fatally injured is part of a water line project that is being upgraded. The accident occurred about 7:30 in the morning. OSHA investigators were at the scene shortly after the accident.

The manner in which an officer’s life is taken is irrelevant. Especially in a case like this, where the officer is known for his heroics protecting Massachusetts’ citizens, it is clear that he would do his job no matter what the danger. Whether any civil or criminal action will be filed against the construction company or other parties as a result of the fatal accident will likely depend to a large degree on the results of any formal investigations, including one conducted by OSHA.

Source: MassLive.com, “Westfield police officer killed in construction site accident identified as Jose Torres,” July 26, 2012

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