Man killed in industrial accident in Blount County identified

The victim of an industrial accident at a railroad tie company in Warrior has been identified as Shannon Todd Sullins, a 34-year-old employee of the Stella Jones Corporation on Highway 160.

Sullins' left arm became entrapped in a piece of heavy machinery run by both hydraulics and electricity, according to Blount County Coroner John Mark Vaughn. Sullins was unable to escape and was killed when an upper portion of the machinery lowered on him, Vaughn said. The accident happened around 3:30 p.m. yesterday at the Stella Jones Corporation, which recently bought out the railroad tie company formerly known as Tangent Rail.

Sullins lived on Warrior Trafford Road in the Trafford area. According to the coroner, Sullins had a close-knit extended family that lives near each other in Trafford, a rural community near the Blount/Jefferson County line. They were notified last night of the accident.

According to the coroner, a sign on the machinery that killed Sullins said "Do not operate machine while doors are open." Vaughn says there were no doors available to either open or close, because the doors had been removed and were stacked in a nearby corner. Only rusty hinges remained where the doors had once been attached. The coroner said he was told the doors had been removed back in February.

Agents with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also arrived to the scene of the accident shortly after Sullins was killed. OSHA agents returned to the site today to continue their investigation.

Sullins' body was taken to Messmer Funeral Home in Warrior. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

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