An Alamance County man died in a Wilkes County accident Tuesday morning while working on a church lot repaving project in the McGrady community. David Eugene Alcon, 38, of Elon was killed when a cinderblock retaining wall on the north side of Pine View Baptist Church collapsed, causing a 23½-ton asphalt milling machine to flip over and land against him, according to Wilkes Medical Examiner Terry Taylor.
Taylor told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot Alcon was standing on a sidewalk leading to the church basement below the retaining wall with the milling machine above the wall in the church parking lot when the fatal accident occurred.
Taylor said Alcon was directing the driver of the asphalt milling machine to grind up old asphalt when the wall, about 18 inches from the machine, collapsed. Taylor said Alcon was pinned between tracks of the machine and another retaining wall on the other side of the sidewalk to the basement as the machine landed on its side.
Taylor said he was pinned from the chest down, with his back against the machine as if he had tried to get away. He said Alcon, who had a wife and two young children, appeared to have died instantly.
Larry Pugh of Woodleaf, operating the milling machine, told the paper he was moving it into place when the retainer wall just gave way. Pugh was trapped in the cab, wedged between the seat and the dash. He said the accident happened very quickly. Members of the Wilkes Rescue Squad and Mulberry-Fairplains Fire Department used power tools to break the seat loose and help him get out. Though trapped 30 to 45 minutes, Pugh walked away only with bruised legs.
Emergency personnel were dispatched at 10:47 a.m. and Alcons body was finally recovered by the Wilkes Rescue Squad at about 1 p.m. after wreckers lifted the machine. Three wreckersfrom Toads Garage, Mikes Welding and Hayes Reynolds Wrecker Service, all in or near North Wilkesboro responded to help while Carl Rose & Sons Asphalt Paving in North Wilkesboro brought a crane to move the asphalt milling machine.
Taylor said it was a Carl Rose & Sons paving project but that Alcon worked for subcontractor Delta Contracting Inc. in Haw River, also in Alamance County.
Bruce Laws of Carl Rose and Sons said workers had already milled part of the parking lot asphalt and were getting the milling machine in place for milling closer to the church when the retaining wall collapsed.
- Written by Steve Frank