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Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

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Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Richl35 » Wed Dec 06, 2017

I rent a small shop in the basement of an old industrial building down on the South Shore. There are a couple rental bays other than my own and we all know each other fairly well. Last night a friend in another bay was in a rush and did something really stupid. One of those things that people do all the time but NEVER should. Well, this time the gamble didn't pay off and it cost him his life. 

Chris was his name and he was a bright young kid with a good future ahead of him. Mid 20s and out of the military, good welder fabricator, owned his own small repair business and a good relationship with a beautiful young woman. A Jeep Wrangler owner himself he was and was building it up into something nice. He had a lot to live for and a lot to leave behind. It is a terrible loss for someone like him to leave this world so young.

So, what was his gamble you ask...? He was rushing to finish up something he was working on so he jacked up a vehicle and without using jack stands slid under to make a quick adjustment. The jack gave out and crushed him to death. He was resuscitated 2 times by emergency medical staff on the scene but unfortunately while being transported to a hospital in Boston that could handle his severe injuries his heart stopped a third time and they could not bring him back.

Like many people I have taken a million chances myself. Grinding without safety glasses, few quick welds with no gloves on, cutting metal on my bandsaw without the guard down, etc... but I have to say I have never been under a vehicle that wasn't on ramps or jack stands and blocked on level ground. As a person who worked as a mechanic in a past life it was always a fear of mine to be crushed by a vehicle. So it saddens me greatly to know someone who has died this way.

So I ask all of you, all the do-it-yourselfers out there, all the fabricators, all the technicians, hobbiests and especially the know it all's. Use your head! Use your safety equipment and use your friggain jackstands!

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Nemesis is a 2010 JK 2dr with WAY too much time, WAY too much $$$, and WAY to many nights dreaming about what I am going to do to it next... And I don't regret one minute of it!
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Frank » Thu Dec 07, 2017

Dont forget ear plugs or Headset FjR68
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby MattJ » Thu Dec 07, 2017

Thank you very much for sharing such a difficult story. Please know it will make an impression on people. And if that causes just one person to slow down and take an extra precaution, somewhere, someday, there will be at least one positive thing to come of such a terrible tradgedy.

I’m new to off-roading and wrenching, but I have already learned many times that emotions are as dangerous as any trail hazard or mechanical breakdown. In just my first year, I’ve already been there several times: rushing to complete a recovery in the rain, hurrying to finish cutting or fabricating a part two hours after I was supposed to be eating dinner, rushing through the last obstacles on a trail so I can get on the road home.

I am an experienced SCUBA diver, and I have learned that when something goes wrong, the first thing you do is slow everything down: your breathing, your thinking, your heartrate. I now realize that the same rules apply in our world of torque and steel.

So when I feel myself getting frustrated or impatient, I try to imagine the Guy in the Long Black Robe stepping out of the shadows to watch me. With every hurried decision and every sloppy risk, he takes a step closer, getting very interested. He sees that things are falling into a very familiar pattern, a pattern he knows very well. In the world of torque and steel, being frustrated and in a rush is a reliable way to meet him.

Thanks again for sharing such a difficult personal story. Hopefully it helps the rest of us stay mindful of the risks we live with so often.
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby BlackKnight » Thu Dec 07, 2017

When I 'm home I have to do my work on the Jeep in a driveway that is not level, I use jack stands, roll around on a crawler so I can scoot out from under fast, and Always being under the Jeep I'm afraid. Fear is good, it keeps me watching, worried and ready. I try not to spend more than a few minutes under the Jeep at home, an oil change, something else small. It's also why I either wait for a wrench fest or drop it at a shop for the bigger things.

Sorry to hear about your friend and fellow Jeeper has passed, to die young is such a tragedy...
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby ImNotCassie » Fri Dec 08, 2017

That's a horrible story. Condolences to his family.
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Hoodoo Man » Fri Dec 08, 2017

so sorry to hear about your loss. A terrible and avoidable tragedy...
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Richl35 » Fri Dec 08, 2017

My relationship with Chris was just a little more than sharing a beer here and there, a couple old stories about our pasts and a helping hand when one needed one. It certainly still affects me quite a bit as I just talked to him for the last time the day before. My true condolences go out to his family and friends who are truly losing someone In their lives. But that being said it is a real sobering reminder of how delicate our lives are and that one stupid decision can cost us the rest of it. I shared the story not to collect any sympathy but to just remind us all that sometimes these stupid little things we do can affect us and those around us greatly.
Nemesis is a 2010 JK 2dr with WAY too much time, WAY too much $$$, and WAY to many nights dreaming about what I am going to do to it next... And I don't regret one minute of it!
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby del_TJ » Fri Dec 08, 2017

Sad, sad story that I’m sorry to hear. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

It reminds me of the time I hopped in the heep, drove to the local Home Depot and saw a car minus wheels sitting on stacked cinder blocks in a driveway. I felt like knocking on the front door and smacking someone on the head. Jack stands, wheels under the frame and a wheel chocks don’t cost much or take much time! Always respect multi-thousand pound vehicles!
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Richl35 » Sun Dec 10, 2017

del_TJ wrote:Sad, sad story that I’m sorry to hear. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

It reminds me of the time I hopped in the heep, drove to the local Home Depot and saw a car minus wheels sitting on stacked cinder blocks in a driveway. I felt like knocking on the front door and smacking someone on the head. Jack stands, wheels under the frame and a wheel chocks don’t cost much or take much time! Always respect multi-thousand pound vehicles!


Completely agree!

One of the many sad facts in this case is that a set of jack stands were within arms reach of where he jacked up the vehicle. To be so careless with your own life...
Nemesis is a 2010 JK 2dr with WAY too much time, WAY too much $$$, and WAY to many nights dreaming about what I am going to do to it next... And I don't regret one minute of it!
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Kurt » Mon Dec 11, 2017

I had a scary experience when I was a teenager working on a car. A dear friend of mine narrowly escaped being crushed by a car falling off a log that was precariously holding it up while we were wrenching on it.
He got out from under it just in the nick of time before it came crashing down.
Teenage stupidity.
Haunts me to this day....
Sadly he succumbed to pancreatic cancer years later. RIP Marc Angelo :sad:
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Frank » Tue Dec 12, 2017

As a child I had something similar for an experience . My Dad owned a garage at the time and always helped the neighbors after hours in the neighborhood. After supper we went down the street about 5 or 6 houses to help one of his buds with some repair. We walked into the yard to see legs sticking out from under the fallen car. The red brick he had stacked up had collapsed . Never forget my dad trying to lift the car. FjR68
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Re: Let's talk about shortcuts and a death...

Unread postby Richl35 » Tue Dec 12, 2017

Sounds like way to many have learned this lesson already. Some the hard way...
Nemesis is a 2010 JK 2dr with WAY too much time, WAY too much $$$, and WAY to many nights dreaming about what I am going to do to it next... And I don't regret one minute of it!
Richl35
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