Inquest scheduled into AIM worker’s death

Provincial officials have scheduled a coroner’s inquest into the 2021 death of a Saint John mill worker.

Bruce Lagace died on Nov. 24, 2021, from injuries sustained while on the job at American Iron and Metal (AIM), a recycling facility located at 145 Gateway Street on the city’s lower west side.

The provincial government announced Tuesday the inquest will take place between Oct. 10 and 13 at the Saint John Law Courts.

“Presiding coroner Michael Johnston and a jury will publicly hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding this death,” reads the government news release.

“The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations to prevent deaths under similar circumstances in the future.”

Legace was the first of two AIM workers who died on the job in less than seven months.

Darrell Richards, 60, sustained life-threatening injuries in June 2022 after an industrial accident at the facility.

He was taken to hospital and died soon after.

Herb Black, president and owner of American Iron and Metal, spoke to reporters shortly after Richards’s death.

He blamed human error for Legace’s death, and also said he couldn’t see how Richards’s death could have been prevented.

Black said the first death, involving a truck driver now believed to be Legace, happened when his driver-side door became stuck.

He allegedly exited through the door on the right hand side, which, Black said, is “completely blind.”

He claims Legace then climbed between the tractor and the trailer, and through a small hatch into the trailer.

He was killed, Black said, when the crane operator swept the truck out with a broom attachment.

“I’ve been in business for 62 years and I’ve never had anyone die until two years ago,” said Black at the time.

“I don’t know how to prevent it at this juncture.”

An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for the public presentation of all evidence relating to a death.

The New Brunswick Coroner Service is an independent fact-finding agency that may not make any finding of legal responsibility.

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