Worker, 24, killed in drainage pipe incident in Port St. Lucie


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A 24-year-old man is dead following an industrial accident in Port St. Lucie on Monday, police said.

The Port St. Lucie Police Department said emergency crews responded to the area of Southwest Becker Road between Southwest Village Parkway and Range Line Road at approximately 11 a.m.

Police said Austin Falcon-Rodriguez, 24, of Port St. Lucie, was performing maintenance in an underground drainage pipe when he was “suddenly pushed out of the pipe from below ground, through the opened roadway grate, and came to rest on the roadway.”

He was working underground on a stretch of Becker Road that has yet to open to the public.

Falcon-Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene.

PSLPD Investigating Industrial Accident Resulting in a Death

At about 11:00 am, PSLPD and St. Lucie County Fire District responded to an industrial accident on SW Becker Rd. between SW Village Pkwy. and Range Line Rd.

Preliminary investigation revealed that an adult male was… pic.twitter.com/nniAHJU7TW

— Port St. Lucie PD (@PSLPolice) July 8, 2024

“We’re unsure exactly what occurred underground but there was some sort of issue that pushed the gentleman from underground through the open drainage grate that’s on the roadway,” said Sgt. Dominick Mesiti of the Port St. Lucie Police Department.

The man’s body was found in the middle of the road by first responders. Police say the victim’s father was also working on the same job site today.

“We don’t know if it was water pressure or air pressure or a combination of both,” said Mesiti.

Detectives are now looking into what type of maintenance was being done and what kind of tools were being used.

“It is a death investigation,” said Mesiti. “Our Criminal Investigations Division is out here conducting that investigation. Doesn’t mean a crime has occurred. Right now, we’re investigating it as an accidental death.”

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