BOSTON — Family and friends of two hard working immigrants killed in an awful accident returned to the scene Wednesday night to remember the lives lost.
Investigators said 28-year-old Jordan Romero of Lynn and 32-year-old Carlos Guittierrez of Chelsea were hit by a truck and fell 20 feet down into a trench.
It happened Wednesday morning just after 8 a.m. at an active construction site on High Street near Purchase Street in the Financial District.
Both men were working for Atlantic Coast Utilities on an emergency repair contract for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The men, trapped in the trench, were pronounced dead at the scene.
A crane was brought in to lift the truck off the trench and a Boston firefighter and EMT were lowered into the hole to check on the victims after it was determined the site was safe.
The city of Boston has suspended Atlantic Coast Utilities’ only other permitted worksite in Boston.
The Suffolk District Attorney’s Office is leading the investigation to determine if a crime occurred, with assistance from city police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.
Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement that the city’s Inspectional Services Department and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission were also assisting investigators. Walsh said the city suspended the permit of Atlantic Coast Utilities, the company that appears to have been performing work at the site, for its other worksite in Boston. “Until a thorough investigation is complete, the company will not be allowed to perform work in the city,” he said.
“It’s a really sad, sad incident on what started out as a beautiful day today,” Walsh added. “I’m heartbroken that two hardworking people lost their lives so suddenly and tragically this morning, and we will work tirelessly to understand how this happened in order to create safer conditions in the future.”
The families of the two utility workers who were killed are wondering what was being done to protect them at the construction site.
“How did that even happen? I don’t understand,” questioned Xavier Rodriguez, Romero’s cousin. “A truck backs up and that’s it? We have no answers. We don’t know what happened.”
Relatives said Romero was a father of two and newly married.
He was the oldest of four siblings and a native of El Salvador.
“I always looked up to him as my older brother, and I know he’s going to be with me,” cried Leslie Villalobos, one of Romero’s sisters.
Guittierrez’s family said he moved to the U.S. from Guatemala more than a decade ago.
His relatives said he worked hard on sometimes difficult underground water and sewer projects to support his family members.
A spokesperson for Atlantic Coast Utilities sent the following statement to Boston 25 News:
“Our hearts are broken over the loss of life suffered by two wonderful people due to what appears to be a tragic vehicle accident. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and coworkers at this very sad time. We appreciate the concerns of those who have reached out and we will provide information on a fund for the families of the deceased in the coming days.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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