Extrudex managers plead not guilty to obstructing fatal accident - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Extrudex managers plead not guilty to obstructing fatal accident probe

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Two managers of a North Jackson aluminum extrusion plant are free on bond after pleading not guilty to federal charges alleging that they lied and threatened employees during an investigation into a worker's death.

Sixty-two-year-old Brian Carder of Stow, Ohio and 57-year-old Paul Love of Lake Milton appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to answer a four-count federal with one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and obstruction of proceedings. Love is also charged with one count of making false statements to law enforcement.

Officials say Carder was the General Manager and Love was the safety coordinator and human resources director at Extrudex, an aluminum extrusion manufacturing company with a facility in North Jackson.

The case stems from a 2012 incident at the plant when 21-year-old John Tomlin of Niles died when he was pinned by a rack holding more than two tons of hot aluminum. A 19-year-old fellow employee was also burned in the accident.

Federal investigators say that nearly three years before that accident, Carder sent an email expressing concerns he had about the safety of racks and roller systems in the company's oven, writing someone could get “seriously hurt”.

According to the indictment, Love and Carder exchanged a series of emails regarding safety concerns about racks falling off the rollers.

Prosecutors say that four months and less than a week before the fatal accident, one Extrudex employee sent emails to Love and other employees about the racks and rollers. One email said the racks were “freezing up”. A second email said the racks fell off the rollers twice in one night.

Both emails expressed concerns that someone could get hurt.

According to the indictment, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requested Extrudex, Carder, and Love produce emails from specific employees to management regarding racks and rollers.

The indictment says Carder, Love, and Extrudex produced only two emails.

Investigators accuse Carder and Love of devising a plan to provide false statements to the OSHA investigator.

Prosecutors claim the duo persuaded employees -- including by suggesting their jobs might be in jeopardy -- to draft statements recanting previous emails about safety issues with the racks and rollers system, according to the indictment.

The indictment says Love and Carder also provided materially false statements regarding, among other things, the safety issues with the racks and rollers system.

The federal court docket does not list the next court date for the two men.

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