LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Two North Texas families have signed off on a multi-million dollar settlement, ending litigation for the accidental deaths of two construction workers in Lewisville earlier this year.
Rafael Ruiz was part of a construction crew working on a Denton County Transportation Authority Park & Ride location in Lewisville on June 24, when a boom on a concrete pumping truck collapsed, hitting four people and killing two. Ruiz died instantly from the impact. Gerardo Horta Hernandez also died.
“I had him in my hands, and I was there with him,” said his son, Eulalio Ruiz, who was also working at the site that day and witnessed the accident.
Records from the U.S. Department of Labor show its Office of Safety and Health Administration investigated the accident and found an unsafe working environment where “proper maintenance checks are not performed.”
It cited the owner of the pump, Central Concrete Pumping out of Fort Worth, with a “serious” violation and fined them just $1,500.
“OSHA has been a watchdog with no teeth. They’re not issuing fines that are very large. They’re letting general contractors and big corporations to get away with, literally, murder,” said attorney Domingo Garica, who represents the Ruiz family.
Friday, he helped them reach their own deal with the companies involved, to split a $7.6 million settlement with Hernandez’ family.
“The money isn’t going to bring our father back,” said Eulalio. His family believes, though, it will help support the 12 children Ruiz left behind.
They also say the big dollar amounts offered in civil cases are the one only way they know to help keep construction companies accountable for the safety of their workers.