Stellantis worker dies in 'workplace accident' in Sterling Heights

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

A Stellantis NV employee died this week after machinery collapsed on him while on the job at the Sterling Stamping Plant in Sterling Heights.

The findings were a part of a preliminary investigation by the Sterling Heights Police Department of the Wednesday evening incident that led to the death of the 57-year-old Shelby Township resident, Lt. Mario Bastianelli said. The transatlantic automaker confirmed the employee's death.

In a Facebook post, United Auto Workers Local 1264 identified the individual as a third-shift crane operator.

A worker at Stellantis NV's Sterling Stamping Plant died Wednesday evening. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

"Stellantis confirms that there was a workplace accident at the Sterling Stamping Plant on April 21, resulting in the death of one of our employees," spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement. "The incident is currently under investigation. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of our employee."

Police were dispatched at 9:30 p.m. to the site. The Fire Department transported the worker to the hospital.

"He was working on some machinery, and something happened, and it collapsed on him," Bastianelli told The Detroit News. "When he arrived at the hospital, he was still being cared fo

The Detroit News left a message with Local 1264. A grief counselor was being made available at the plant on Thursday, according to its post. Colleagues also shared their condolences and recalled him as a good guy in posts and comments.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our brother at Sterling Stamping Plant, Local 1264, who perished in an accident at the facility," UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement. "We are working with our joint UAW-Stellantis Health and Safety Department to get more information on this fatal workplace accident and providing the necessary support for our Local 1264 Brothers and Sisters during this crisis. We are mourning the loss of our co-worker as we find out more about this incident. On behalf of all UAW members and UAW Stellantis members, our hearts go out to the family of our deceased Brother.”

Sterling Stamping employs almost 2,000 hourly workers and another 200 salaried. It makes stampings and assemblies including hoods, roofs, liftgates, side apertures, fenders and floor pans for the Dodge Durango and  Jeep Cherokee series SUVs, Chrysler minivans, and Ram trucks.

The incident comes ahead of Workers Memorial Day on Wednesday. The UAW will honor two members who died on the job from workplace injuries last year and those who died from COVID-19.

Michael Curcio, a 58-year-old maintenance technician, died in June during a service and maintenance task on an automated welding line used to construct van frames at auto supplier Metalsa SA de CV in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Mark Anthony McKnight, a 57-year-old Caravan FM electrician, died in December in General Motors Co.'s Marion Stamping facility in Indiana when a steel partition fell while being placed as he was working on a guardrail.

“Our prayers go out to the loved ones of our brother who died last evening," UAW President Rory Gamble said in a statement. "Everyday our UAW members kiss their families goodbye and head to work proud of their craft and with hopes for their future.

"One death is too many and we are committed to working through our Health and Safety Department to continue to stamp out the root causes of industrial accidents so that all our members return home safely each and every night.”

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble