Crane Accidents

4 Settle Post-traumatic


“Big Blue” Collapse

Four workers who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of the Big Blue crane collapse in July 1999 at Miller Park have reached an out-of-court settlement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America and nine other defendants.

The settlement, reached late in July, just months before a trial in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, is believed to be the last legal case connected with the accident, which killed three ironworkers and delayed the opening of the baseball stadium until March 2001.

The four workers are Joseph L. Edwards Jr., Shayne Olson, Robert D. Becker and Thomas J. Freda. All received an undisclosed financial settlement.

Olson and Edwards were operating smaller cranes at the construction site on July 14, 1999, when Big Blue became unstable. Freda was on the roof of the stadium when he saw the crane collapse.

Becker was the last person to speak to ironworkers Jeffrey A. Wischer, William R. DeGrave and Jerome W. Starr, who were killed in the accident.

Big Blue was lifting a 450-ton piece of the roof when the piece began swaying in the wind and the crane collapsed. Wischer, DeGrave and Starr were suspended nearby, 200 feet in the air, in a basket that another crane hoisted. Falling debris collided with the basket, sending the men to their deaths.

The ironworkers’ widows received millions in compensation under the terms of a separate agreement.

Category: Famous, Report Update


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