Federal Agency Now Involved in Overpass Collapse

October 22, 2003 - Posted at 4:28 p.m. CDT

HERNANDO, MS - The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is helping investigate the collapse of six concrete steel-reinforced beams that killed a man in Mississippi.

The beams, 98 feet long and weighing 40,000 pounds each, fell Monday.  They crushed 20-year-old Jerrell Robinson's vehicle and killed him instantly.

A trackhoe, operated by 38-year-old Marty Rakestraw of Dumas, may have knocked into the beams and sent them tumbling.  Rakestraw worked for a contractor on the project, Memphis-based Ronald S. Terry Construction.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is not conducting a separate investigation, says Danny Walker, a district construction engineer.

The beams were resting on top of two columns on each side of U.S. 51.  They were not secured at this stage of construction.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.