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Worker killed by concrete truck

CLEARWATER - A 43-year-old Pasco County man was killed Tuesday morning when he was crushed by a concrete truck at a construction site on Sand Key, police said. Joseph DeJose of 7531 Christina Lane, Port Richey, apparently fell or slipped beneath the wheels of the 67,000-pound truck as he directed a line of concrete trucks that were pouring the first floor of the Ultimar condominium complex at 1520 Gulf Blvd. "The truck was creeping when, somehow, he ended up underneath it," said Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor. The truck was traveling 2 to 3 miles per hour, he said.

DeJose was dead when paramedics arrived at 9:36 a.m., 11 minutes after they received the call to the muddy beachfront construction site.

Witnesses disagreed about whether DeJose fell while he was in front of the empty truck, or whether he slipped underneath while at the side of the truck and was run over only by the back wheels, Shelor said.

The accident is still under investigation, but Shelor said no charges against the truck driver are expected. Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were notified, Shelor said. OSHA officials did not return a reporter's telephone calls Tuesday.

The driver of the truck, Kenneth William Kroll, 38, of Clearwater, was so distraught after the accident that he was taken to Clearwater Community Hospital, Shelor said. Kroll was later released without treatment, a hospital official said.

"He didn't even know he had run over the guy" until it was over, said Shelor. "He was just beside himself."

Workers at the site continued with their duties, pouring the floor as police investigated. All the concrete work must be done at once or that section of concrete is ruined, Shelor said.

DeJose worked for Ewell Industries, a sub-contractor hired by the condominium builder to do concrete work at the site. Ultimar will be an 18-story, 114-unit condominium complex and is scheduled to be complete in the spring of 1991.

DeJose had been a truck driver but was promoted to truck driver supervisor about a year ago, said T. Berry, another truck driver on the scene.

He was respected by his co-workers, Berry said.

Company officials had no comment on the accident Tuesday because they were still gathering information.

"This never happened to us before," said Dale Bruwelheide, vice president of Ewell Industries.

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