Steel Cylinder Rolls from Pa. Construction Site, Strikes and Kills Woman

Screenshot of WTAE-TV report - steel cylinder against a truck
A still image from a WTAE-TV report on the construction accident that killed a Pennsylvania woman on May 3.
WTAE-TV Pittsburg

A woman died after being struck by a steel cylinder that rolled away from a construction site in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 3.

Aleia Lopez, 51, a UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital employee, was walking with colleagues when the 1-ton steel cylinder came loose from a University of Pittsburgh construction project, rolled down a hill, broke through a fence and stuck Lopez, according to Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesperson Emily Bourne. The cylinder came to rest against a pickup truck.

Pittsburg police and EMS were called to the scene around 10:40 a.m. Lifesaving measures were attempted, but Lopez was declared dead within a minute of EMS arrival due her head injuries, reports say.

OSHA and the city are investigating the incident. The construction project is a joint venture between Gilbane and Massaro. Costa Contracting was a subcontractor on the site.

According to WTAE, a construction manager on the project released the following statement:

“We are working closely with authorities to investigate this tragic incident involving one of our subcontractors. We’re grateful to the first responders for their swift actions at the site. We are deeply saddened by today’s events, and our hearts go out to the family of the individual impacted by this incident.”

Dennis Blackwell, an attorney for Costa Contracting, released the following statement on the company's behalf:

“With heavy hearts, Costa Contracting wishes to extend their deepest condolences to the family of the woman who lost her life today, Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this profoundly difficult time. Costa Contracting is committed to a full investigation to determine the factors that led to this event. Safety remains our paramount concern, and we are working with OSHA and local authorities to understand precisely what occurred. At this time, we respect the privacy of the family and ask that others do the same. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

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UPMC issued a statement saying, "We are saddened by this tragic incident. Our immediate concern is the well-being of our employees, patients and visitors. While this was not a UPMC construction site, this tragedy impacts our campuses, and we are providing support services to our employees. Our deepest sympathies are with the victim's family, friends and colleagues.”

Watch the full report from WTAE-TV Pittsburg here: