July 22, 2014
Steege arrived in his dump truck at a Hafenstine Construction owned sand and gravel operation for a load of material. He positioned his truck to be loaded and equipment operator Tyler Wegele positioned the excavator to start the loading process.
Wegele saw Steege leave his truck, but inadvertently swung the excavator bucket to the right, pinning Steege between the bucket and the truck bed. Wegele immediately swung the bucket to the left and rushed to assist Steege. He called 911 for assistance but it was too late. Steege died of blunt force trauma.
Steege had over three years of mining experience, all at the mine in Alma. However, he made a fatal mistake when he left his truck while it was being loaded.
MHSA stresses that all mine operations train truck drivers to stay in their trucks while they are being loaded. Likewise, excavator operators should never begin the loading process if a driver steps out of his/her vehicle.