A 43-year-old dock worker at the U.S. Postal Service Bulk Mail Center on Roosevelt Road was killed last Thursday after apparently being run over by a semi-trailer truck.
Forest Park Police believe that the death was accidental, though the matter is still under investigation according to Deputy Chief Thomas Aftanas.
Antoine Thomas of Burnham was discovered in the rear of the facility by a co-worker at just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, according to police.
Aftanas said that police were able to track down the driver of the truck that allegedly struck Thomas. The driver was on his way out of state but returned to the scene. Aftanas said the driver consented to tests to determine whether he was intoxicated, and has not been charged with a crime at this point.
“If he was under the influence, it may or may not have been a criminal matter. Even if he were, it would still have to be proven that he was driving in a reckless manner and that [his intoxication] was the direct cause,” he said.
Aftanas said that blood was found on the truck that apparently struck Thomas, which is also being analyzed by the Cook County Medical Examiner. Police have not determined how the driver struck Thomas, and do not know if Thomas was behind or in front of the truck when hit.
According to Aftanas, Thomas was a dock worker whose primary responsibility was to place and remove blocks under the tires of incoming and outgoing trucks.
He said that though police had interviewed Thomas’ co-workers in an effort to determine when he was last seen, they had not been able to determine how much time had passed between the accident and the discovery of his body by a co-worker.
Aftanas said police are unsure how long it will take before final results of the investigation become available.
“It depends on the results from the crime lab. If we put a rush order on it, we’re hoping between one and two months, but that doesn’t mean much,” he said.
Aftanas said he could not recall any other similar accidents at the bulk mail center during his time with the police department.
“Most calls we’ve gotten from them have just been ambulance calls dealing with employee health issues,” he said.
Representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration could not be reached for comment, but have been quoted stating that they had no information on any past history of such accidents.