Worker dies in pipeline accident

Staff Report

A man died Tuesday in a pipeline construction accident near Rifle, the Garfield County coroner reported Thursday.

Juan Manuel Tapia Tequida, 30, of Grand Junction, also known as Efrain Cortez, was the victim, Coroner Robert Glassmire said.

A news release said the coroner was called Tuesday to Grass Mesa Road in Rifle for a death investigation at a construction site where a pipeline was being installed.

Three heavy-duty, 12-inch diameter, 60-foot-long pipes were staged at the edge of a trench. It’s estimated the pipes weighed between 1,200 and 2,000 pounds each.

Initial reports indicate that Tapia Tequida accidently loosened a board on which the pipes were resting. The pipes started to roll, trapping the victim underneath as he and pipes went into the trench.

Tapia Tequida was pronounced dead at the scene by coroner investigators.

Tapia Tequida was an employee of a construction company contracted to install the pipeline. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified of the workplace fatality.

An autopsy showed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and the manner of death was an accident.

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