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2 UPS Co-Workers Killed in Auto Crash

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A motorist’s attempt to defog his car’s windows by adjusting the defroster is what apparently left two of three UPS workers dead as they drove home late Wednesday night, police said.

Valley Traffic Officer Paul Skinner said Peter Michael Papadakis, 23, and two friends had just hopped into his car at about 10:10 p.m. on Densmore Avenue, near Stagg Street, when the car began to drift to the curb.

Papadakis apparently could not see out the windshield and, while trying to turn on his defroster, veered right and slammed into a parked flatbed truck. The car was traveling at only 35 m.p.h., but the impact sheared the top off of Papadakis’ car.

“He just couldn’t see past the fog on the front window,” Skinner said.

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Killed were Jerry Brown, 30, of North Hills, who was sitting in the rear passenger seat, and Pierre Masquesmay, 22, also of North Hills, who sat next to Papadakis.

Masquesmay died at the scene, while Brown died later at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. Both men suffered massive head trauma.

Papadakis was in stable condition at Holy Cross Medical Center, recovering from head wounds.

All three men worked as sorters at the United Parcel Service facility in Van Nuys, Skinner said.

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Lisa Johansen, a human resources official at the Van Nuys UPS office, said the deaths of the two men have left the office in shock.

“As you can imagine, everything is pretty hard for us right now,” she said inside the office Thursday morning. “I hired them.”

Johansen said executives from UPS were visiting the Van Nuys office Thursday to talk to employees in the aftermath of the deaths of two of their co-workers.

UPS regional spokeswoman Kandice Traeger said the company was very upset by the tragedy and would look into helping the families deal with the deaths.

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Skinner said the accident was something that could happen to any driver who is not careful.

“He just got distracted,” he said. “Like so many of us do while driving, he was just adjusting the defroster. It’s an unfortunate accident.”


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