Hospital Worker Dead After Being 'Struck' by Steel Cylinder That 'Broke Free' from a Construction Site

Authorities said the employee had been “walking with her colleagues” on a sidewalk when a “large steel cylindrical drum broke free," rolled down and "struck" her



A hospital worker is dead following a freak accident in which she was struck by a steel cylinder while walking on a sidewalk.

The City of Pittsburgh said in a press release that Pittsburgh Police and EMS were dispatched to Terrace Street in Pennsylvania at around 10:40 a.m. local time, when they found a woman with “significant, grave injuries to her head.” She was pronounced dead on the scene around 10:45 a.m.

According to the release, witnesses told officers that the woman had been “walking with her colleagues” on a sidewalk when a “large steel cylindrical drum broke free from a nearby construction site,” “rolled down a hill” and through an “adjacent construction fencing,” before it “struck” the woman.

Witnesses said the drum then rolled across the street before it eventually stopped. A photo shared by news station KDKA-TV showed the large construction drum resting in the middle of the street next to a black pickup truck, with police vehicles surrounding it.

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“Bystanders in the area attempted to perform life saving measures before medics arrived, but were ultimately unsuccessful,” police said.

The Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner identified the woman to PEOPLE as 51-year-old Aleia Lopez.

Her mother, Melanie Hall, told WPXI that her daughter had been on her lunch break from her job at Western Psych when the incident occurred.

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“It could have happened to anybody. It just happened to my child today,” Hall told the news station. “I’m just glad no babies were hurt. No other children were hurt.”

The grandmother said that she had seen the news reports in the afternoon about the incident and had tried to get in contact with her daughter. “I called her right away, I called her at work, I called her on her cell phone and I texted her and I said, ‘Call me right away and let me know you are alright,’ ” she said, adding that no call came.

Hall also said that Lopez’s 14-year-old son Ethan had asked his mother not to go to work that day, and he is now “so broken up because she didn’t stay home.”

“He feels if she had just listened to him, she would still be here,” she added.

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Hall said that Lopez was the person who kept the family together and was “the rock” for her three children.

The family has since set up a GoFundMe, which has raised about $18,000 as of Saturday, May 4, to help pay for funeral costs and help care for Lopez’s kids.

Hall said her focus will now be on comforting her three grandchildren through the difficult time. “Somehow, I have got to see them smiling again for their mother’s sake,” she told WPXI.

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