Court documents filed in Harris County on Monday describe a horrific scene on Dec. 3 as 28-year-old Angel Garcia assisted with the demolition of a spiral pedestrian ramp at the northeast corner of the stadium.
Stationed on the fourth story of the ramp, Garcia was using a small Caterpillar loader to catch concrete debris from overhead demo work. Just before noon, a large piece of concrete broke free from a column and toppled into the machine's steel bucket.
The Garcia family seeks a jury trial and more than $1 million in damages.
The concrete load was too heavy for the Caterpillar, which struggled to gain control of the debris before plummeting over the edge of the ramp. Garcia was ejected from the machine as it dropped, landing back first on a pile of rubble below.
The father of two survived the fall but died from his injuries hours later at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bryan. An investigation led by federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is underway, with official conclusions expected by spring 2014.
The Garcia family seeks a jury trial and more than $1 million in damages from several contractors involved in the Kyle Field renovation, including Manhattan Construction and the deceased's former employer Lindamood Demolition. Both companies have faced OSHA violations in the recent past.
“Mr. Garcia’s family is enduring an unbearable holiday season this year," prosecuting attorney Jason A. Gibson says in a statement. "We filed this lawsuit today to help them begin the process of rebuilding their lives. In the meantime, our law firm’s investigation of this incident continues, and we are also monitoring the related state and federal investigations.”
Also named in the suit are the Houston-based Vaughn Construction — which co-leads the Kyle Field work with Manhattan — as well as two concrete-cutting firms from Austin. Allegations include gross negligence, poor training and a failure to provide an adequate barrier along the fourth floor of the ramp.
Lindamood Demolition has set up a memorial fund for Garcia and his two children aged 6 and 7. Donations can be sent to Bank of the West, 108 W. Northwest Highway, Grapevine, TX 76051. Checks may be made out to the Angel Garcia Memorial Fund.