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Woman, 63, fatally crushed by parking lot gate

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Commerce Township — A 63-year-old West Bloomfield Township woman was apparently crushed to death by a motorized parking lot gate, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office reports.

An employee at a tool and die shop in the 8100 block of Richardson Road reported finding the victim about 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Apparently, the woman had reached through the chain link fence with keys and got trapped between the gate and the electrical box.

The victim’s Cadillac Escalade was parked with the driver door open, its engine running.

The township Fire Department had to partially disassemble the gate to free her body. She was part owner of the shop, and it was not unusual for her to work on Sunday.

It appeared she was leaving the property and was unable to get out of the way of the 7-foot high motorized gate and fixed electrical box. Her keys were found on the other side of the gate.

An autopsy Monday by the Oakland County Medical Examiner found she died of asphyxia by compression.

There have been other workplace deaths this year in Metro Detroit and across Michigan, state officials said.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website lists 16 deaths reported to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration through July 14.

Among the fatalities reported so far in 2015 was the May 5 death of a 53-year-old Sterling Heights man in an industrial accident at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.

According to a preliminary report on the state website, the operator, identified by the UAW as millwright and wastewater operator Donald Megge, “was cleaning sludge from the filter press machine when the press cycled, crushing the employee between plates in the filter press.”

On April 18, Inkster resident Heather Warren, 41, was killed after she was struck by a semitrailer backing up at the Great Lakes Works Cold Mill Shipping, in Ecorse.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319