Man’s family sues after fatal accident at Santa Fe construction site

March 23, 2019

The family of a 22-year-old man who was crushed to death last year between two spools of copper wire during construction of the Presbyterian hospital in Santa Fe has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The family of Aiden McQuillan recently filed the action in state District Court against DKD Electric, the company to whom McQuillan was delivering the spools when he was killed in February 2018.

The suit alleges that McQuillan was told to manually unload the spools from a flatbed truck. The spools weighed more than a ton, were difficult to handle and normally would have been unloaded with a forklift, the suit says.

The suit says, “A supervisor for DKD instructed Mr. McQuillan they would jointly attempt to unload the spools manually instead of utilizing the forklift. … During the course of the unloading, Mr. McQuillan became caught between two large rolls of electric wire crushing him resulting in his death.”

DKD Electric had a duty to use proper and safe operating procedures but failed to do so, the suit says. The company didn’t respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

Santa Fe attorney Peter Wirth, who also is a state senator, is McQuillan’s personal representative in the suit, which was filed on behalf of his mother, father and sisters.

The family seeks an unspecified amount of damages, including punitive damages, funeral expenses, compensation for wages that McQuillan would have earned and compensation for the family’s suffering due to his death.

The state Occupational and Health Safety Bureau issued a citation to McQuillan’s employer, Albuquerque-based National Electric Supply, following the incident, saying the company failed to ensure the 2,600-pound spools were adequately secured during delivery and that employees weren’t adequately trained to safely unload them.

National Electric Supply Operations Manager Todd McGrath declined to comment for this story.

A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Environment Department said the company contested the $3,000 citation before agreeing to accept it and pay a $2,000 fine.

McQuillan had been employed by National Electric for about six weeks at the time of his death, his parents told The New Mexican in an interview last year. He had previously worked for the newspaper.