Illinois man killed in work-related incident in Cedar Rapids

Contractor fatally injured at Cedar Rapids Country Club

CEDAR RAPIDS An East Moline man died Friday after steel pipes slipped off of a trailer, struck him, and caused fatal injuries at the Cedar Rapids Country Club.

Police officers, firefighters, and an ambulance were dispatched to the club,550 27th Street Drive SE, at 3:51 p.m. Friday for a medical call that a pipe fitter had been injured, Cedar Rapids public safety communications coordinator Greg Buelow said.

When emergency responders arrived on scene, Buelow said they were directed by a runner to the rear of the clubhouse down a narrow cart path to a 28-year-old victim who was unstrapping steel pipes secured onto a trailer. Buelow said the accident happened when some of the pipes slipped and struck the victim, causing traumatic injuries.

He said medical treatment began and the man, identified as Jacob Harper of East Moline, Ill., was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment where he later died.

Linn County Medical Examiner Donald Linder said an autopsy conducted over the weekend indicated Harper died of a traumatic brain injury.

MidAmerican Energy Company confirmed the death, adding the man was working as a third-party contractor for MidAmerican at the time of the accident. In a statement, MidAmerican Energy said the contractor worked for Michels Pipeline Corporation, which is out of Wisconsin.

The statement said MidAmerican Energy is working with the contractor and local agencies as they investigate the accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the contractor's family, friends, co-workers and community," the statement said.

Thad Nation, a spokesman for Michels, said Harper was an 8-year employee with the company and that the incident is currently under investigation by local authorities and the company.

"We've got tremendous safety and environmental records and we will get to the bottom of what happened here," Nation said. "We've been in contact with the family and it's a tragedy. This is a company that very much values family and it's a hard loss with an employee that's been with us a long time."

A representative with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said they had sent an inspector to Cedar Rapids on Monday, but no further details could be confirmed.

Harper was a member of Union Local #150 an international union of operating engineers that spans across parts of several states but the accident happened out of that union's jurisdiction.

Ed Maher, with Union Local #150, said Harper was a member and that the union was aware of the Cedar Rapids accident, but wasn't able to provide any further details.An obituary for Harper said he was a foreman-operator for Michels Pipeline Corporation of Wisconsin and that he leaves behind his parents, a fiancee and daughter.

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