Paving machine, steamroller pins Hosea O. Weaver &Sons employee

Published 10:15 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
A worker with Hosea O. Weaver &Sons remains hospitalized following an accident Monday morning while paving Hwy. 21 in front of Church's Chicken.
Frank Sylvester of Mobile was crushed between a steamroller and an asphalt machine around 11:24 a.m., according to a release issued by the Atmore Police Department. Upon arrival, officers observed Sylvester pinned between the two large roadway construction machines being held up by his co-workers.
According to statements given by the victim and witnesses to the accident, Sylvester was riding on the back of the paving machine. The operator of the steamroller, Charles Spears, stated that he was packing the asphalt up to the paving machine when the control lever slipped from his hand causing the roller to collide into the back of the paving machine pinning Sylvester between the two.
"The machine just got away from him," Hosea O. Weaver &Sons supervisor Dennis Chance said. "The spreader was stopped for the grinding machine to turn around and the roller operator was getting closer, but just got too close. It hasn't ever happened before and I've been doing it more than 30 years."
Atmore Ambulance transported Sylvester to Atmore Community Hospital. He was later transferred to Springhill Memorial Hospital in Mobile for treatment of his injuries where he remained Tuesday evening.
According to Chance, Sylvester suffered a broken left leg between his knee and his hip. The worker, who has been with the company for eight years, underwent surgery where a pin was placed in his leg.
"They've told him that it will be a while before he comes back due to the broken leg," Chance said.
Losing Sylvester is a huge blow to Hosea O. Weaver &Sons.
"He is a good key man and we hated to lose him," Chance said. "We hate to see accidents happen."
Paving work began on the four-mile stretch of both the northbound and southbound lanes of Hwy. 21 through Atmore three weeks ago.
Chance said 60 working days have been allotted for completion of the project, but weather could assist in an early completion or cause the project to run over a few days.
As a result of the paving through town, crews will re-stripe the streets beginning at Burger King and terminating near the Assembly of God church making it a two-lane road instead of four-lane road. A turn lane will also be added in the middle and a red light will be installed at Craig and South Main with a turn signal on it to prevent turning in front of oncoming traffic.
When paving reaches the downtown business area traffic will be rerouted to Trammell Street in order to clear the roadway of cars parked along the side. The detour will begin at West Horner Street at Church's Chicken and will end at East Horner Street at Burger King.
"We're working to get past the light," Chance said. "Then we can set up the detours."
Chance expects to begin the detouring some time after noon today.

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