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Worker Dies in Industrial Accident at Plastics Firm

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 19-year-old worker was killed when his head was caught in an industrial bottle-making machine at the Imaginative Plastics company, authorities said.

Daniel Orozco Villegas of Buena Park was making plastic bottles when the accident occurred about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, police and Cal/OSHA officials said. He had been briefly filling in for his uncle on a machine.

Villegas’ head was caught in the device and crushed, but police said Thursday they don’t know how it happened.

“His main responsibilities were away from that particular machine,” Sgt. Jeff Love said. “But apparently, when the operator took a break, he was there to operate it.

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“For some reason, and we don’t know why because there were no eyewitnesses, his head got caught in the machine.”

Paul McHaffie, 25, son of Imaginative Plastics owner Doyle McHaffie, said Villegas usually worked days and was covering a shift for another employee.

Villegas lived with his uncle, Rosendo Villegas, and was working next to him Wednesday night. The uncle usually operates the bottle-making machine, but the younger Villegas was filling in while his uncle took a five-minute break, Paul McHaffie said.

The uncle came back from his break and found Villegas caught in the machine.

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When paramedics arrived at the business, in the 700 block of East Lambert Road, Villegas was unconscious, police said. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Friendly Hills Regional Medical Center, Love said.

McHaffie described the 19-year-old as a dedicated worker who often filled in for colleagues at the small company, which has about half a dozen employees.

“He’s a good worker,” McHaffie said. “He was a real nice guy. Right now, everyone is still in that stage of ‘I can’t believe it happened.’ ”

The company opened earlier this year and produces large plastic jugs, such as those used for soda and bleach. Villegas had been working there for several months, McHaffie said.

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Villegas came from Mexico, and the company is trying to arrange to have his body transported home for burial, McHaffie said.

Cal/OSHA investigators questioned workers about the accident, said Jim Brown, the agency’s district manager.


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