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Gravel Pit Had Passed Inspection Minor Infractions Found 9 Days Before Fatal Rock Slide

Wed., May 24, 1995

An inspection nine days before a fatal rockslide at a gravel quarry found no violations that might have caused the ground shift, a federal mining official said Tuesday.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health administration conducted an inspection of the site two miles north of Wenatchee May 9-10 and found no “ground control” violations, said Garry Day, the agency’s assistant western district manager in Vacaville, Calif.

“That means nothing as far as loose-ground violations or mining-method violations or high walls,” he said.

Findings of the agency’s investigation into the cause of the rockslide that killed the site manager and a 5-year-old boy should be made public by the end of the week, Day said.

The inspection at the quarry being worked by Lloyd Logging Inc. of Twisp found only three minor violations, each carrying a fine of no more than $50, he said

“In the scheme of things, that’s almost nothing,” he said. “Citations like this happen. It’s pretty minor. We write a lot of those kinds of citations.”

Lloyd had been operating the Morrill Asphalt Paving Co. gravel pit a mile south of Rocky Reach Dam for only a month or so, Day said.

Rock crusher day foreman Tim Grace, 27, of Spokane, and Tory Davis, 5, son of employee Diana Davis, of Rosalia, died in the accident. Officials said the boy was at the gravel pit apparently because Davis had no other place to take him.

Chelan County Coroner Dr. Gerald Rappe said both victims were crushed and died instantly.

The mine safety inspection found the company failed to report movement of a portable crusher into the gravel pit and failed to date a quarterly man-hour report, and that a bulldozer operator was not wearing a seat belt.

Lloyd Logging officials were not in their office Tuesday afternoon and weren’t expected to return until Wednesday, an employee said.

State Department of Labor and Industries spokeswoman Suzanne Taylor said Lloyd Logging and Morrill Asphalt have only had routine citations in recent years.

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