Sterling Hts. man, 39, victim of trench collapse

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Police have released the name of the construction worker who died after a trench he was working in collapsed Monday in Sterling Heights.

Rescue crews in Sterling Heights were furiously trying to excavate a construction worker Monday after a trench collapsed around him

The victim has been identified as Jason Holmes, 39, of Sterling Heights, said Sterling Heights Police Lt. Mario Bastianelli.

Bastianelli said Holmes was doing some underground prep work in a trench that is about 20 feet long, 4 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Officials said the contractor was attempting to disconnect a sewer line.

The victim was alone in the trench and no other person was injured in the collapse, Bastianelli said.

He also said police continue to investigate the worker's death, but it doesn't appear at this time any charges will be filed.

Jeannie Vogel, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which oversees the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the agency's Construction Safety and Health Division is investigating the collapse.

"MIOSHA cannot provide information on an open investigation," she said in a statement. "Typically, this type of investigation may take several weeks or months to complete."

On Monday, police officials said they received a call about the incident about 1:30 p.m. Monday at an abandoned motel at 42371 Mound near 19 Mile. 

Officials said the motel had been vacant for years and a construction crew that was hired to demolish the building was prepping the area when the trench collapsed.

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin said Holmes was a private contractor and had been hired by the property's owner to perform the construction work. 

Sterling Heights police officers and firefighters and the Macomb County Technical Rescue Team worked for about three hours to save the man, authorities said.

His body was recovered after 5 p.m. and emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead at the scene, they said. Holmes' body was covered by about 3 feet of heavy clay soil, officials said Tuesday.

They also said the trench was filled to ensure everyone else's safety.