Make your home page

Man dies after trench collapses, traps him 19 feet underground

LATEST: The man who died in the trench collapse was identified as Timothy Harness, 50, of Westfield, according to the Shelby County coroner.

PLEASANT VIEW, Ind. (WISH) — A man died Sunday afternoon after he fell into a trench and was trapped underground at a construction site in northwestern Shelby County.

The Indianapolis Fire Department says the 54-year-old was a project supervisor for HIS Contractors Inc., an Indianapolis-based construction company. Five company workers were at the dig site Sunday when the trench collapsed.

The company called 911 for help shortly before 3:10 p.m. Sunday in the 12100 block of East McGregor Road. That’s about 500 feet east of the border of Indianapolis, and just southwest of the Shelby County community of Pleasant View.

A news release from Indianapolis Fire Department said, “Based on the location at the county line and the cell tower location – the call originally went to Marion County police side dispatch – they transferred it over to Shelby County Dispatch at 3:13 PM.”

Witnesses say the man was standing on the edge of a recently dug trench when the ground gave way. The trench along the road was about 40 feet long and 6 feet wide.

After he fell, mud and debris fell on top of him. Witnesses tried to reach him but the soil was too unstable. Water filled the hole and compacted the soil into clay. A Greenfield Wastewater Utility truck was used for dirt and water removal, the release said.

Firefighters at 5:30 p.m. found the man about 19 feet underground, and his body was removed shortly before 7:45 p.m.

The man was not identified Sunday night as his family was notified. He’d worked for HIS Contractors for 15 years and had supervised the Pleasant View Commerce Park project since September. The 100-acre, $114 million project to convert farmland into commercial space was first discussed in 2008 as a future site for Honda suppliers.