Sunday, January 5, 2003

Bulldozer death is mystifying; victim an experienced operator

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

He was known for his thorough knowledge of heavy equipment, which is why Nicholas J. Groeschen's former employees are wondering whether his death Friday was some horrible fluke.

They were left reeling when they learned that Mr. Groeschen, better known as "Nick," died when the bulldozer he was delivering at Noramco Transportation in Riverside slipped off its tractor-trailer and crushed him.

Mr. Groeschen, 37, of Highland Heights, had worked at Art's Rental Equipment Co. of Newport for 18 years and was well-respected for his experience.

"He was the best guy we had," company president Ken Arlinghaus said.

Cincinnati police, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating Mr. Groeschen's death.

Mr. Arlinghaus thinks that, for some inexplicable reason, Mr. Groeschen ignored some basic precautions. Noramco has a dirt lot, and Mr. Groeschen parked the semi on a slight incline, which is frowned upon. He also wasn't wearing the bulldozer's seat belt.

Mr. Arlinghaus thinks the incline caused the bulldozer to slip on a patch of ice and fall off the semi. Mr. Groeschen apparently jumped, but "he didn't jump far enough, and (the bulldozer) fell on top of him," Mr. Arlinghaus said.

"We're all in shock because he did enjoy his job so much," said Terri Groeschen, Mr. Groeschen's sister-in-law.

Survivors are his mother, Dorothy Groeschen; brother, Tom Groeschen of Camp Springs, Ky.; sister-in-law Terri Groeschen of Camp Springs; two nephews; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home, Fort Thomas. Service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Church, Cold Spring. Burial will follow at St. Stephen Cemetery, Fort Thomas.

Memorials can be made in the form of Masses or in donations to the Adopt-A-Student Program at St. Joseph Grade School, 4011 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076.


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