Family of deceased truck driver files $20 million notice of claim against Pima Co.
ADOSH releases report on fatal accident at Pantano Wash
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – It has been six agonizing months of waiting and wondering for the four children of a man who died in a Tucson construction accident. However, a newly-released report by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) my shed light on the deadly-rollover at the Pantano Wash.
Truck driver Danny Murphy died in late March while on the job. His dump-truck, carrying two tons of soil and cement, rolled over into the wash and killed him.
Family members told KGUN9 News that Murphy -- who had two decades of experience driving trucks -- had complained for a while about unsafe conditions at the site.
Murphy’s family has filed a $20 million notice of claim against Pima County ($5 million per child). Filed in early September, it alleges that the county “so negligently and carelessly designed, constructed, supervised or maintained a construction project at Pantano” that it created “unreasonably dangerous conditions.”
The notice also claims that the county was aware of the concerns before the accident and “was ultimately responsible for the safety of the project, but failed to take timely action.”
The ADOSH report, however, did not issue any citations to Pima County, the project’s general contractor NAC construction, or the subcontractor Harvey Trucking (Murphy’s employer). The report states that investigators were not to find any problems with the roadway that made the accident site less safe than normal.
It also stated that drivers had to drive around a critical spot where Murphy’s truck apparently flipped over, but “there was no evidence that this section was unusually hazardous relative to other such spots on the project.”
“It’s our job now to go through this report, make any decisions we need to make, make sure that Danny’s family is first and foremost taken care of,” said Carlo Mercaldo, the attorney for the Murphy family.
As a result of the investigation, ADOSH sent letters to the Pima County Flood Control District, NAC Construction and Harvey Trucking, recommending that for future wash bank jobs, they “examine ways protecting belly-dump drivers” and to look at different methods for delivering soil cement to the top of wash banks.
Pima County has 60 days to respond to the notice of claim from Murphy’s family.