18-year-old dies in industrial accident

OKEECHOBEE — An 18-year-old Okeechobee man died Monday afternoon in what investigators are describing as an industrial accident.

Delbert Wayne ‘Trey’ Howard, N.E. 39th Blvd., was killed around 4:41 p.m. Oct. 19 in an accident involving a large off-road dump truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel from Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue.

Trey Howard

Trey Howard

Although the incident is still under investigation by OCSO Detective Corporal Rosemary Farless and Detective Howard Pickering, it is believed Mr. Howard fell off the truck and was struck by it.

According to Public Information Officer Michele Bell, from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), that dump truck was being driven by Richard ‘Rick’ Durfee.

“They were out in a field doing ground work with heavy equipment,” when the accident occurred at Larson Dairy #4 on N.E. 48th Avenue, she said.

Mr. Durfee, who works for SK Services, was training Mr. Howard, said Mrs. Bell. SK Services is owned by Spencer Kirton, added Mrs. Bell.

Mr. Howard, a 2015 graduate of Okeechobee High School, was slated to join the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 15.

Because this was a work-related incident, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is also investigating the incident.

Students at Okeechobee High School were saddened by the loss of their former classmate.

“The OHS Swim team has been rocked to the core by the sudden loss of Trey Howard,” said swim team coach Stephen Neafsey Tuesday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Howard and Hedrick Family. Trey was part of the OHS swim team family for three years. Not only was he a great swimmer with a heartwarming personality, but a wonderful friend and student. He will be deeply missed by our team and community.”

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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