Fayette man fatally crushed by bales of paper
A former Fayette County physician who was convicted of trading prescription medications for sexual favors died on Monday at a recycling center in an accident similar to one that killed a man there 14 years ago.
Mark Fremd, 56, of Connellsville was pronounced dead at 11:20 a.m. at Allen Enterprises & Recycling, 145 Bellview Road, Bullskin, according to a spokeswoman at the coroner’s office.
Fremd was crushed when three bales of paper, each weighing 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, fell on him at 10:30 a.m., according to Trooper Timothy Kirsch of state police at Uniontown. Kirsch said the death was accidental.
A woman who answered the phone at the recycling center, which according to a sign posted outside the facility was formerly known as B&R, declined to comment. Another woman who said she is one of Fremd’s daughters, along with other family and friends of the victim, declined comment at the scene.
An employee, Michael Crosby of Bullskin, said Fremd was helping to move the large paper bales onto a BobCat loader when he was struck.
“A stack of bales that shouldn’t have been that high collapsed on him,” Crosby said. “They’re only supposed to be three high. Back there, they’re four high.”
Crosby said there was nothing other employees could do to try to save Fremd.
For the past week, Crosby said, he had been working in the spot that the accident occurred. Yesterday morning, just before the accident, a supervisor instructed him to work on something else at the facility, he said.
“It could have been me,” Crosby said.
Fremd is a former Connellsville physician whose license was suspended, according to online records maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
In 2003, a jury found Fremd guilty of giving his patients prescription medications in return for sexual favors and bilking his insurance carrier out of thousands of dollars. He was sentenced to 18 to 36 months in state prison.
More recently, Fremd had battled the city of Connellsville over alleged health and code violations at properties he owned in the city.
The accident that killed Fremd was similar to one that occurred on May 19, 1997, at the same center.
In that incident, Christopher T. Floyd, 30, of Connellsville was crushed when a 5-foot-high stack of cardboard fell on him.
At that time, state police said Floyd, who was employed as a BobCat operator with B&R, was standing beside five bales of packaged recycled cardboard stacked atop one another. Police said the bales, estimated to weigh as much as 1,000 pounds each, fell onto the dock where Floyd was standing, pinning him to the concrete.
After an investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, B&R was cited for seven violations, including failure to store materials properly and failure to properly train forklift operators.
B&R was assessed penalties totaling $4,800.
Leni Fortson, a spokeswoman with OSHA, said it could not be immediately determined whether Allen Enterprises, under its current ownership, is the “same legal entity” that B&R was in 1997.
In March, 13 fire companies battled a blaze at the facility for more than six hours. In 2002, arson was cited as the cause of a morning fire there.
Fortson said OSHA has initiated an investigation into Fremd’s death. Kirsch has asked that anyone with information regarding the incident contact state police at Uniontown at 724-439-7111.