By TIM ROWDEN
Shrewsbury, MO – Operating Engineers Local 513 is mourning the loss of a union brother.
Shawn J. Pritchett, 35, was working the overnight shift for SAK Construction on a two-man crane team at Metropolitan Sewer District’s Deer Creek tunnel project when he was pinned between the crane cab and crawler track.
The accident happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 17, 2019 near Carr Lane Court north of Interstate 44.
SAK shut down the job site after the accident. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent an investigator to the scene. The tunnel project is expected to be completed in September 2022.
‘A GOOD OPERATOR AND GOOD UNION MEMBER’
Local 513 Business Manager Tim Sappington had known Pritchett since he joined the union as an apprentice in October of 2013, when Sappington was working as a training administrator.
“I got to know Shawn pretty well,” Sappington said. “He was a great big guy with a heart of gold, real polite and nice and considerate. He was a good operator and a good union member. It was just a terrible accident. It’s a tragedy. Construction is dangerous; it’s a dangerous occupation we work in.”
Pritchett graduated from the Operating Engineers Training center in April of 2016. He had been on the job site for SAK Construction for just two weeks.
‘YOU NEVER KNOW’
St. Louis Labor Council delegates observed a moment of silence at the Council’s monthly meeting Tuesday night.
“A lot of people, a lot of politicians, don’t realize what we go out there and do every day,” Council President Pat White said. “You never know when you go out there, when you get to the job site and you get out of your vehicle, what is going to happen.”
HELP BROTHER PRITCHETT’S FAMILY
Pritchett and his longtime girlfriend, Breanna Clark, lived together in New Florence, Mo., near Montgomery City, more than an hour’s drive west of St. Louis. They have four children, ranging in age from 3 to 12 years old – two together and two from Clark’s previous relationship.
“Just the kind of person that he was, I know he was good father,” Sappington said. “He was good young man.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Brother Pritchett’s children at gofundme.com/f/money-for-shawn-pritchetts-kids.
You can also send donations to Local 513’s union hall at 3449 Hollenberg Dr, Bridgeton, MO 63044.