According to KME Owner Chappell Allen, William "Bill" Brown, 58, of Cadiz, had gone behind a milling machine for an unknown reason. Allen said employees aren’t typically back behind the machine unless it is being oiled. He said a foreman performs this task once every other Monday.
"We’ll never know why Bill went behind that machine," Allen said.
The accident allegedly occurred at approximately 7:55 p.m. according to Deputy Trigg County Coroner John Mark Vinson.
Allen said there are two employees on the night shift in the building where the machine is kept. It is not housed in the main building it is in a smaller building adjacent to KME headquarters.
This is the first serious accident the business has seen since its introduction to the community 34 years ago. Allen said in that time there has only been two accidents that have caused an employee to lose work time. Those incidents were due to back sprains, he said.
The machine is made to produce metal pieces that companies use in their own products. It also runs automatically, which adds to the mystery behind the incident.
Allen said Brown was a model employee who always showed up to work and hardly ever missed since his hiring in 1998.
"He had run this particular machine for a year off and on," Allen said.
James Stewart, 23, also of Cadiz was the other employee who was working along side Brown. Allen said that Stewart had gone to talk with Brown, who was sitting in a chair waiting for the machine to finish its 20-minute cycle. Stewart walked away and according to Allen, heard an unusual "thump" and ran to see what happened. He found Brown pinned in the machine and he immediately paged other personnel at the main production plant.
Stewart immediately dialed 911 and then notified other workers at the main production plant over a paging system. Allen said it took other workers three to five minutes to arrive at the scene. They found Brown in the machine without a pulse.
Vinson could not confirm the cause of death as the incident is still being investigated by Trigg County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Butts.
Allen commended his employees on their efforts and response to the situation. He said workers on the day shift, which includes Brown’s son, volunteered to work the night shift due to the accident.
"The employees of Kentucky Machine and Engineering have been tremendous," Steve Allen, treasurer of the business said.
Representatives with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were on-site Friday along with insurance representatives to survey the situation and attempt to determine the cause of the accident. Allen said KME was not at fault, rather it was the result of employee error.
KME was using the machine to fabricate metal parts for another company in Jackson, Missouri.