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Worker Killed at King Middle School Identified, Didn't Hear Warning Yells

The worker killed by a rolling truck at King Middle School in Berkeley Tuesday was identified as Oscar Marquez of Livermore. He was operating a compactor and wearing ear protectors and didn't hear yells from coworkers, an official said.

The running track behind Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley. Photo: Google Street View
The running track behind Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley. Photo: Google Street View
The construction worker killed on the job Tuesday at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley was Oscar Marquez, 62, of Livermore, the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau said Thursday.

Marquez was working at the campus' running track and athletic field about 12:30 p.m. when he was run over by a big rig that had been parked on a slope and began rolling, according to Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan.

He was employed by the Robert A. Bothman Inc. construction firm based in San Jose.

The firm is refurbishing the track and field, which lies behind the school next to Hopkins Street, and at the time of the accident, Marquez was tamping down asphalt on a path leading from the gym to the field, Coplan said.

When the truck began rolling, other workers at the site saw it and began yelling, but Marquez couldn't hear them because he was operating a power compactor and was wearing ear-protector headgear, Coplan said. He also had his back turned to the truck and didn't see it, Coplan said.

A small group of students touring the school garden near the track at the time of the accident were aware of it, Coplan said.

"I don't know if they saw it, but they were aware of it because of the sound and the yelling," he said.

Tuesday was orientation day at the school, and new students, largely 6th graders, were taking tours in small groups of the garden during day, Coplan said.

Cal/OSHA, the state agency that oversees workplace safety, has assumed responsibility for investigating the accident.

Cal/OSHA spokeswoman Kathleen Hennessy said the agency has a six-month time frame in which to complete investigations but that it usually finishes with 3-4 months.

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