New Haven man dies after forklift falls on top of him at Branford auto repair shop

New Haven

An ambulance and police cars flanked the front of a tire store on West Main Street in Branford after an accident which was disturbing to many. An overturned forklift also remained in front of the store.

An employee at Whip It Tire Service told News 8 that a man driving a flatbed truck came in and asked if he could get air for one of his tires. 

He was told he could, but instead of driving over to the air compressor, they saw him doing something with the forklift which was on the back of the flatbed. 

The next thing they knew, the forklift had fallen off the flat bed and landed on top of him. Branford Fire, which is just across the street, got the call at 11:00 a.m.

“When we arrived here, we found an approximately 58-year-old gentleman underneath the forklift unconscious,” said Assistant Branford Fire Chief Shaun Heffernan.

Tire store workers worked feverishly to try to lift the folklift off the man using floor jacks which remained next to the overturned machine.

“It appears to be internal injuries,” said Asst. Chief Heffernan. “The majority of his torso was underneath the forklift.”

The man, who was from New Haven, succumbed to his life-threatening injuries after being transported to Yale New Haven Hospital.

OSHA and South Central CT Police Services are trying to determine how the fatal accident happened.

“Doing a reconstruction and investigation to determine if the forklift was properly secured and other facts and information about the forklift and the tow truck,” said Asst. Chief Heffernan.

News 8 spoke with a couple of people who were nearby when the accident happened.

They said they heard screams, and when they looked over at the tire store, they saw workers from Whip It Tire come out and try to use floor jacks to get that forklift off the person.

They said what they saw was just so traumatic they didn’t want to speak with News 8 on camera. 

The victim’s name is not being released pending notification of his family.

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