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Sunnyside farm accident claims man's life

A worker for the Veiga Dairy near Sunnyside was killed last night when a large hay bale fell on him.

Oner Villa-Rodriguez, 28, had been separating hay bales in preparation for feeding when a bale toppled off of another bale and struck him, according to a press release issued by the Sheriff's office.

Villa-Rodriguez had worked for about two years at the Veiga Dairy, located at 7010 E. Edison Rd.

At the time of the accident he was unloading the bales off of a truck and then separating the bales by cutting the twine.

The bales were stacked in pairs, and the bottom bale had possibly been loosened when the twines were cut or separated. The top bale then toppled over when the bottom bale lost its shape. The bales weigh nearly a ton each and require a fork lift to move. The Sheriff's office said it is not known if Villa-Rodriguez knew the bale was falling, or was unable to avoid the large bale.

A co-worker found Villa-Rodriguez under the bale when he noticed the fork lift driven by Villa-Rodriguez had not been moved for some time.

Co-workers then used a fork lift to extricate Villa-Rodriguez from under the bale. Yakima County District #5 fire department personnel were unable to resuscitate Villa-Rodriguez.

The Sheriff's office said the accident occurred at about 8:15 p.m. yesterday, yet its log shows a call was received more than two hours later, at 10:35 p.m., from fire district emergency personnel who were just then enroute to the scene.

The log also states, according to emergency personnel, that Villa-Rodriguez was not breathing at the time they were enroute and that "no one is doing CPR at this time".

Dairy owner Tony Veiga referred any comment to the Sheriff's office press release.

There was no comment available from District #5 on the case, as the district would not release the name of the officer in charge of the accident scene, only noting he was an officer with the Sunnyside Fire Department.

When contacted for comment, the Sheriff's office said it did not know why it took two hours for the fire district to be enroute, or why it took that long for their office to be contacted.

"We went (to the scene) because it was an industrial accident," said CarriAnn Ross of the Sheriff's office.

Villa-Rodriguez, a native of Mexico, was married with children.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries will continue the investigation into the death of Villa-Rodriguez.

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