Threats follow death of Harlem plant employee

Police investigating after Internet posts

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 3:28 PM
Last updated 10:43 PM
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Harlem authorities are investigating threats made against a Tracy-Luckey Co. official in the wake of the workplace death of the plant manager on Friday.

Homer Gay, 70, who worked at the Harlem pecan processing plant for 53 years, died after being hit in the side of his head with a 2-inch pipe, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.

Ruth Tracy Blackburn, company CEO, reported to police that two people claiming to be Gay’s grandchildren posted threatening remarks online following stories on The Augusta Chronicle and The Columbia County News-Times Web sites on Saturday, Harlem Department of Public Safety Director David Sward said.

One comment was posted on The Chronicle site under the name Tiffany at about 8:40 a.m.

Tiffany wrote: “His death could have been prevented! I am going to do everything in my power to see that you get your comeuppance! Ruth I hope you couldn’t sleep last night.”

The poster used vulgarities and claimed Gay’s death was due to negligence.

“She (Blackburn) had also received a phone call from an unknown person making some allegations and some threats,” Sward said. “Nothing specific.”

Sward said the caller, who did not identify himself or herself, cursed and made allegations and vague threats.

Gay was with employees of a contracted company installing a new air compressor at the plant in downtown Harlem. They were attempting to repair a leak when someone said to get away.

Gay took two steps away before the leak propelled the pipe into him.

Investigators called the incident a freak accident.

Gay, a Harlem High School graduate, started working at the plant in 1958.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified and sent a compliance officer from its Atlanta office to begin an inspection.

OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of
safety and health regulations in workplaces.

An OSHA inspection into the incident would likely take weeks to complete; if OSHA violations are found, Tracy-Luckey could be cited and fined.

Comments (7) Add comment
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TK3 03/06/12 - 05:47 pm
People should cut the

People should cut the relatives some slack cause they are hurt and mad, and YOU would be to if this happen to your grandfather. Lets hope cooler heads prevail all around.

fatboyhog 03/06/12 - 10:49 pm
Threatening someone should

Threatening someone should not be tolerated, EVER! It is a shame that the man died, but to threaten people over it? Nope, can't grant that behavior any slack.

GaStang22 03/07/12 - 12:20 am
I completely understand how

I completely understand how they may feel and may think those things to themselves or speak about it to others, but to search out said person and make them fear for their safety and the safety of their family. No excuse!!!

itsanotherday1 03/07/12 - 12:38 am
I read the post shortly after

I read the post shortly after she posted it. It was out of line by AC rules, but I just took it as venting. Much ado about very little as far as I'm concerned.

bdouglas 03/07/12 - 09:33 am
If there is any "comeuppance"

If there is any "comeuppance" to be had, it will certainly be doled out in the form of fines and punishment by OSHA. Workplace safety is a big deal. If there's any more to it, it can be settled in court with a wrongful death suit or similar. I'm sure one of the slimey types of lawyers is already beating down the doors of the family offering to work for a little off the top.

LLArms 03/07/12 - 12:15 pm
So just from what I am

So just from what I am reading I can't figure out who was at fault in the death? The policy of the plant when these repairs or done, or was the gentlemen told to move because he should not have been there in the first place?

"They were attempting to repair a leak when someone said to get away."

Was it more of a statement to warn everyone in the area, or was it directed just at Mr. Homer?

Can anyone clarify exactly what happened?

Sweet son
Sweet son 03/07/12 - 01:11 pm
I read one of the comments

I read one of the comments and by that person's inability to write the english language correctly I could understand the possibility of other offensive thoughts.

checkitout 03/07/12 - 01:18 pm
I would like to say this. I

I would like to say this. I knew Homer for many years he was a awesome man that would do anything for you. He felt that Tracy Luckey was his 2nd home. Ruth is a really good person she felt like and treated Homer as family. I have known Ruth many years also. By no means did she or anyone else want something to Homer. It was a freak accident. The grand kids are ranting because of the lose and words do hurt others. Just know Homer would not want his family feeling this way. RIP Homer you will be missed by many

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