22-year-old man dies after falling into equipment at sausage packing plant in Church Point | Crime/Police


A 22-year-old man from Rayne died after an accident at a sausage processing plant in Acadia Parish.

Todd Wheeler, an employee of Richard’s Cajun Foods, died Thursday after falling into a piece of machinery at the meatpacking plant.

Church Point Police Chief Dale Thibodeaux said another worker noticed Wheeler missing his post and quickly stopped the machine. Police were notified of the crash shortly before 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

“It was a matter of 30 seconds,” Thibodeaux said. “As soon as they noticed he was missing his post, he was checked and the emergency post was switched off. It all happened pretty quickly.”

Wheeler was pronounced dead at the scene by the Acadia Parish Coroner’s Office. The Church Point Volunteer Fire Department and the Acadian Ambulance also responded to the call.

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Thibodeaux said members of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration were scheduled to be at Richard’s on Friday to investigate the fatal work accident.

A spokesperson for the OSHA office in Baton Rouge could not comment on the matter.

In 2015, OSHA fined Richard $3,600 for two safety violations during an inspection, online records show.

The first violation, related to hazardous energy controls, is classified as serious by the federal agency. The other violation involved wiring methods, components and equipment.


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