2013-02-28 / Front Page

Oilfield Accident Turns Tragic for Smithville Man

A 52 year old man from Smithville lost his life last Wednesday morning while working at the Bert Dodd #1 well site off of Lee County Road 120.

On Wednesday, February 20, at 10:16 a.m. the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call concerning an oil field accident that took place near the intersection of FM 141 and CR 120, about halfway between Giddings and Dime Box. Their investigation revealed that James L. Washington was working on a work-over rig belonging to Tex- Lee Operating. Witnesses said an air rescue operation was called to come to the scene, but minutes later, it was cancelled.

According to the Sheriff ’s report, the rig was in the process of being taken down and moved off location. It indicated that Washington was told by a coworker to disconnect a floor chain. The report said Washington unhooked a safety hook to the line that has a counter weight, which is used for the Geronimo line. The Geronimo line is used to assist workers to climb the side of the rig and is also used as a safety device for workers getting off the rig.

It was estimated that the counter weight, weighing between 150-200 pounds, fell approximately 65 feet straight down onto Washington. Washington was wearing a safety helmet, but the helmet proved to be of little help, given the weight of the pipe that fell, combined with the velocity that it traveled.

Justice of the Peace Troy Bise was called to hold the inquest on Washington, and an autopsy was ordered from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The initial report from the autopsy was received and it noted that the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Investigating officers included Sheriff Rodney Meyer, Deputy Jack Allen and Deputy Robert Carvin.

Washington leaves behind a loving family in Smithville.

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