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August 19, 2011

Pekin man crushed to death in Jeffboat accident

Third fatality at shipyard in less than 16 months

JEFFERSONVILLE — A Pekin man was killed Friday morning when he was crushed between a barge and piece of equipment at Jeffboat.

Steve Duncan, 54, an electrician at Jeffboat for the past 11 years, died of compressional asphyxia and blunt-force injuries, Clark County Coroner Edwin “Huck” Coots said.

Jeffersonville Police Department Detective Todd Hollis said police were called to investigate at about 7 a.m., and Duncan was pronounced dead at the scene.

Duncan was working on a machine called a buggy, which has a hydraulic lift, when it moved and pinned him against the barge. Coots said it will take some time to determine exactly what caused the accident.

Hollis said, once they determined there was no criminal element, the investigation was turned over to the coroner's office. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also be conducting an investigation.

Jeffboat, located along the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, is the nation's largest inland shipbuilder and repair facility. Jeffboat is owned and operated by American Commercial Lines.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our Jeffboat team, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his co-workers during this difficult time,” said Kim Durbin, manager of corporate communications for American Commercial Lines.

This is the third death at Jeffboat in the last 16 months. Two workers fell to their deaths in separate incidents in May 2010.

American Commercial Lines has approximately 2,400 employees. There are about 815 workers at Jeffboat after 200 were recalled in March following layoffs. Thursday was newly appointed ACL President and CEO Mark Knoy’s first day.

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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