2018-10-02 22:30:03 UTC
Pinsetter machine crushes bowling alley owner to death, Colorado cops say
By Lisa Gutierrez
October 02, 2018 10:02 AM
Updated 7 hours 23 minutes ago
The owner of a bowling alley in Florence, Colorado, died Sunday afternoon
in a freak accident when he was crushed by the pin-setting machine.
Police and fire and rescue personnel found Ector Rodriguez, 65, trapped in
the machine, unconscious and not breathing, according to the Canon City
Police said it was an accident, the newspaper reported.
The business was open at the time, and people were bowling, according to
Fox 21 in Colorado Springs.
Rodriguez had gone back to service the machine, and when an employee
hadnt seen him in 15, 20 minutes, she went to check on him, Florence
Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis told Fox 21. And thats when she found him
trapped in the machine and called 911, he said.
The former owner of Fremont Lanes, Larry Baker, told the Fox station that
Rodriquez, who was 65, was a one-man show running the alley. Hes
manager as well as mechanic, Baker said.
And I know how pins fly and all that. I can just think of many things
that could go wrong. And the other thing is, it wasnt real modern
equipment, it had some age.
Social media photos show the alley is more old-school than high-tech, but
nothing has been reported about the age of the equipment that killed
In a town of about 4,000 residents, the bowling alley on Main Street is a
hub of activity. Photos on the bowling alleys Facebook page show kids
having birthday parties, leagues playing and people posting about ringing
in the New Year there.
Rodriquez sat the bench outside the alley and talked to people as they
walked by, the police chief told Fox 21. After Rodriquez died, TV reports
show, people left flowers and cards near the front door.
People leaving condolences on the Daily Records Facebook page remembered
Rodriquez as an amazing bowler, too.
There are so many people who live their lives just for themselves, and he
was not that person, Susan Wilson told the Colorado Springs Gazette. He
should have died a 99-year-old man with his family surrounding him, you
In 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated a
similar accident at a bowling alley near Cincinnati that killed a worker
who was repairing the pin-setting machine.
Like the accident in Colorado, there were bowlers and other employees in
the alley at the time, but no one saw what happened, according to Fox
News. The coroner ruled that 53-year-old David Geiger, who had worked in
bowling alleys for 30 years, died of accidental traumatic asphyxia, Fox
He knew exactly what he was doing back there, former co-worker Nathan
Hursell told a local TV station, according to Fox. Its one of those
things where you dont think twice of that happening. Its just a common
spot that we get in the machines and its just a freak accident.
That same year, 29-year-old Vidal Garcia, a part-time mechanic at a
bowling alley in Brownsville, Texas, also died when his shirt collar got
tangled in a faulty pinsetter, strangling him as the machine twisted the
collar tighter, OSHA reported on its website.
OSHA determined that the machines unguarded, rotating shafts
contributed to his death and cited the business with safety violations.
Dead or Alive Data Base
Dead or Alive Data Base