Investigators probe death at Deep Rock Tunnel Connector

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INDIANAPOLIS – A contractor was killed on the job, digging a tunnel under the streets of Indianapolis. Work at the Deep Rock Tunnel Connector is on hold as investigators are trying to figure out what went wrong.

We know that 25-year-old Isaac Simpson lost his life in the tunnel, but we still don’t know how.

Simpson’s family in Cicero told FOX 59 Friday night they were too grief stricken to speak with us because of their loss.

Citizens Energy said Simpson had been on the job for more than a year. He’s a laborer, who worked for contractor Shea-Kiewit Joint Venture, until his death on Friday.

“We’re certainly very shaken by his loss,” said Sarah Holsapple, with Citizens Energy.

Emergency crews first got notified after three on Friday morning. Citizens Energy isn’t calling the situation an accident but rather an incident. The company will not describe what may have happened underground, citing an ongoing investigation now by I-OSHA, or the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Friday night contractor Shea-Kiewit released a statement addressing the fatality.

“We are working closely with Citizens Energy Group and all involved authorities while the investigation is underway. It would be inappropriate to speculate or provide further comment regarding this tragic incident while those investigations are ongoing,” said Nicole Noren, company spokesperson.

Work on the Deep Rock Tunnel Connector started in 2012. It’s 250 feet beneath the surface and designed to store sewage and keep it from flowing into waterways in Indianapolis. Crews have been boring the eight mile tunnel through bedrock. Friday’s incident occurred at mile seven.

“It’s a total shame when a young man at that age has to lose his life. His life was just beginning,” said Cicero resident Richard Weber.

Weber calls the death a tragedy. He said he feels for the family that’s hurting in his community.

“This is a small town, and he’s just starting in the prime of his life,” he said.

The investigation by I-OSHA could take two or three months. Work on the tunnel was halted on Friday, and it doesn’t usually take place over the weekend. A spokesperson said the site will likely open back up next week.

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