Guilty pleas expected in fatal accident probe at North Jackson p - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Guilty pleas expected in fatal accident probe at North Jackson plant

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Two men who were managers at a North Jackson manufacturing plant are expected to plead guilty to federal charges filed in connection with an investigation into a fatal accident at that plant.

According to court records, Paul Love of Lake Milton and Brian Carder of Stow, Ohio are offering guilty pleas in the case outlined in a four-count federal indictment.

The development comes one week before the men are scheduled to go on trial on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and obstruction of proceedings. Love is also charged with making false statements to law enforcement

The charges stem from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the death of a worker at the Extrudex aluminum extrusion plant on Mahoning Avenue in 2012.

Twenty-one-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.

Officials say Carder was the general manager and Love was the safety coordinator and human resources director at Extrudex when they allegedly lied and threatened employees during an investigation into Tomlin's death.

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.

Extrudex, a Woodbridge, Ontario based company, has a facility in Saint-Nicolas, Quebec, in addition to North Jackson

As a corporate entity, Extrudex has already pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony by hiding attempts to obstruct justice from their parent company in Canada and law enforcement.

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