Police release identity of Lee’s Summit trench accident victim

tporter@lsjournal.comOctober 25, 2013 

  • 75 ft.

    Measurement of a trench that emergency crews said had been dug from the street up to a residential home under construction in the 1000 block of S.W. Drake Circle in Lee’s Summit.

Lee’s Summit police this morning said a man killed in a trench accident Thursday was identified as 49-year-old Brian D. Allen of Windsor, Mo.

Sgt. Chris Depue said that at this time police are not releasing information about the companies involved.

On Thursday a former Marine, Jason Wellner, said he has seen what he described as ‘way worse’ than the recovery efforts of emergency crews attempting to locate a man’s body trapped by fallen dirt.

On the scene of an incident Oct. 24 in the 1000 block of S.W. Drake Circle in the Raintree Reserve subdivision of Lee’s Summit, Wellner was just one of many onlookers who felt helpless as medical personnel prepared for the recovery of the man’s body.

Police and fire department officials said a preliminary investigation determined the man fell into a trench close to 1:30 p.m. Emergency responders were unable to rescue him after the dirt surrounded him.

The man’s name and the cause of the accident weren’t available before the Journal went to press, but Wellner said his brother witnessed the aftermath and subsequent failed attempt by Lee’s Summit Fire Department crews to rescue the man.

“It’s kind of sad, you know?” Wellner said shortly after he instructed his son via mobile phone to get off the school bus on the corner of Ward Rd. and Drake Circle. “(The worker) was down there a ways and just had a lot of dirt fall on top of him. I mean, really a lot of dirt for one man to be down it that hole. There were a couple of other gentlemen that were jumping up and down when it happened.

“The Lee’s Summit Fire Department was very quick to respond. Literally within a couple of minutes they were here and attempting to dig him out. They tried and tried, but it was just too deep for them to get him out. I really didn’t know what was going on. My brother who was here earlier actually was outside and witnessed it happen. He just said (witnesses) didn’t know what to do. It’s kind of shocking.”

In a joint statement to the media, Lee’s Summit Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin McCaw and Lee’s Summit Police Sgt. Chris Depue said at approximately 1:30 p.m. police officers and emergency crews were called to the 1000 block of S.W. Drake Circle in Lee’s Summit on the report of a trench collapse with a man trapped inside.

Upon arrival crews located a trench that was approximately 75 feet long that had been dug from the street up to a residential home under construction. The two-man crew was working to connect the sanitary sewer to the home under construction when the earth shifted in the trench and collapsed on the man who was working down below. The other man was working from the top of the trench and was not harmed.

Crews on scene worked on rescue efforts before the trench began to collapse again and efforts were forced into a recovery mode.

The LSFD requested assistance from the Kansas City Fire Department’s technical rescue unit which specializes in collapses and trench work. Also on scene were officials with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Lee’s Summit city codes department, LSPD, LSFD and the Kansas City Fire Department.

The victim has been identified only as a white male.

“I’ve been through something worse than this before and witnessed an airplane crash, but this is still pretty bad – especially when it’s this close to home,” Wellner said. “It was an air show accident back in 1993, maybe, at El Toro Marine Base in Santa Ana , Cali.

“I actually witnessed that and then we had to actually do a rescue and search and pick up every piece of that aircraft including the pilot. It was tough, but when you have your wife and your kids and it’s directly across the street from where you live, it hits a little closer to home than with a stranger.”

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