WHITE LAKE -- Just a couple days into construction, a Colorado man working at the PrairieWinds turbine project site in the White Lake area died in a work-related accident Friday.
Stephen McAdams, 40, of Durango, Colo., died at the scene, said Michael Dale, state Highway Patrol trooper. The accident occurred at 1:36 p.m. in a pasture near 245th Street and 368th Avenue seven miles northeast of Kimball, he said.
McAdams was standing next to the driver's side of a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup owned by Wanzek Construction, the main contractor for the project, as a semi-tractor with a flatbed trailer loaded with rebar was backing up to unload the material, Dale said.
McAdams was preparing to help with that task when he got caught between the trailer and pickup, Dale said. He was run over by both dual tires on the trailer and died of massive abdominal injuries, Dale said.
The man driving the semi did not see McAdams, Dale said.
He declined to release the name of the driver.
McAdams was an employee of Wanzek, said Rebecca Young, human resources director for the Fargo-based company. It is the main contractor for the 108-turbine project for Basin Electric Cooperative and South Dakota Wind Partners.
"We are saddened by the unfortunate accident that occurred on Friday afternoon," Young said. "We're reviewing the accident right now."
The semi driver from Nebraska was contracted by the rebar supplier, Young said, adding she didn't know the name of the supplier.
When asked if anything could have been done to prevent the accident, Young replied that the matter is under investigation.
Wanzek is working closely with local and state authorities to investigate the incident, Young said. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be on site this week.
"The safety of our employees has been our primary concern, and we are taking significant measures to prevent future accidents," said Russ Boyle, the company's assistant human resources director, in an e-mail to company employees last Friday.
Young would not elaborate on what those safety measures will entail.
Construction began early last week on the project after the Rural Utilities Service published its record of decision in the Federal Register on Oct. 5, said Daryl Hill, a spokesman for Basin Electric in Bismarck, N.D.
"It's an unfortunate incident. You never want to see something like that happen," Hill said. "You want to make sure incidents like this don't happen again."
Hill said Basin and Wanzek discussed safety measures before the project began.
"It's always going to be an ongoing discussion," he said.
Initial construction involves earth work, such as building access roads, preparing the area for concrete bases for turbines, trenching for power cables and creating paths for cranes to walk from tower to tower, Hill said.
The semi driver is not facing any charges, but the accident is still under investigation, Dale said.
The Brule County Sheriff's Office and Kimball Ambulance also responded to the accident.