Police seek arrest warrant after Mich. worker’s body found in collapsed trench

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Updated Oct 6, 2019

Stock trench excavator no worker

Police have requested an arrest warrant after a Michigan worker was found dead in a collapsed trench, and it was later determined he died after being hit by an excavator being operated on the worksite, reports WJRT ABC 12 news station.

Craig WagnerCraig Wagner

The worker, Craig Earl Wagner Jr., 38, of Dryden was found buried in a trench September 12 in Imlay City. Attempts were made to rescue him from the trench soon after police received a report of the trench cave-in. Within 5 minutes, officers located him, but he was already dead.

WJRT reports that the Imlay City Police Department has requested an arrest warrant be issued from the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office, which will decide whether charges should be filed.

Imlay City Police Chief Scott Pike, in an October 1 interview with WNEM CBS 5 news station, said:

“The damage impact to his head couldn’t have been done from the falling earth. The only way it could’ve happened is from the construction equipment at the scene.”

He also questioned why the responsible operator did not come forward:

“The human reaction when it’s that scary and that serious, the natural reaction is to deny it and to distance yourself from it. But at some point, if you were involved and it was just an accident, seems like the prudent thing to do is to come forward and say so.”

Wagner was working for Novak Construction of Almont when his death occurred.

Wagner’s obituary said he also worked on his family’s 160-year-old farm raising cattle and selling hay and worked in construction laying block, installing overhead doors and as an equipment operator. He and his wife have five children.

“Craig enjoyed gardening, farming, spending time with their children, and working with and on his John Deere tractors,” the obituary reads.