A crew member helping repave a church parking lot who was killed when he was run over by a Bobcat loader on Thursday morning has been identified, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office said.
The worker was Alejandro Paulin Castaneda, 17, of Newark.
Around 8:45 a.m., emergency crews responded to reports of an injury accident at 2490 Middlefield Road, in which a person was stuck underneath a vehicle between Oregon Expressway and Marion Avenue, according to emergency dispatch radio.
Responders had indicated CPR was in progress and called for a rescue response, dispatchers said.
However, police Sgt. Wayne Benitez said the worker who was run over at Crossroads Community Church was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident involved a loader that could carry up to 3,700 pounds.
The Rev. Jake Duckworth of Crossroads Community Church said on Friday he had visited the church earlier in the morning on Thursday, but he was not on site at the time of the incident. The paving company was working on sealing the parking lot asphalt, he said.
When he first arrived, the crew was prepping the area, using leaf blowers to clean the asphalt. A large leaf blower was attached to the back of the tractor and the driver was doing the bulk of the work of clearing the debris, he said.
He returned to his home, but he soon received a call to get to the church right away because of an accident, he said. When he arrived, he found the crew in a parking lot on the southwest side of the building.
"I knew something serious had happened," judging from the look in the foreman's eyes as he shook his head, Duckworth said.
Investigators instructed everyone to stay out of the area on the building's northwestern side. Duckworth became the company's chaplain and prayed with the crew.
Several people in the church's on-site residency program heard the commotion and witnessed the aftermath. They were clearly shaken, he said.
On Friday, Duckworth was still saddened. He had gone straight into pastoral-care mode to comfort others at the scene on Thursday and spent little time on his own emotions in the hours after the incident. But that changed when he returned home, he said.
"As soon as I got home, I saw my kids and my wife. I stepped out onto our back porch. That was my first moment alone," he said.
The church will gather people together and provide a space for them to talk, particularly for those who witnessed the incident to help process their feelings, he said. Several people have also expressed a desire to help in some way.
"We want to give a gift to the family. There's someone who lost their life in our parking lot," he said.
It appeared the young man might have been crouching down to do some of the fine work and perhaps the tractor had backed into him, Duckworth said. But as of Friday afternoon, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health investigators were still working the case and have not released any information, except to confirm that the company is KC Paving, Inc. of Redwood City. Cal OSHA spokesman Luke Brown said the investigation could take up to six months, after which the agency would release a report.
The paving crew is taking a few days off to deal with their grief, Duckworth said. It appeared that Paulin Castaneda might have been a relative of the owners. Two of the owners of KC Paving are Jorge and Jesus Castaneda, according to the company website. Jorge Gaeta is the third owner. A receptionist at KC Paving said no one was available at the office to comment on the incident on Thursday. The company could not be reached on Friday.
Shortly after the incident, on Thursday at 9 a.m. crews called for police to close Middlefield Road between Oregon Expressway and Marion Avenue for the rescue operation for at least two hours.
At about 10 a.m., northbound lanes were reopened, but both southbound lanes remained blocked to traffic, according to dispatch radio.
As of 12:44 p.m., all lanes were reopened, police said on Twitter.
A tow truck was called to the scene, a dispatcher said.
Crews also requested personnel from the coroner's Office and California Division of Occupational Safety and Health/OSHA, which sent an inspector, to investigate.
The company, which has offices in Redwood City and the East Bay, specializes in paving, concrete, asphalt, sealing and striping for residential, government and commercial clients, according to its website. It was incorporated in 2001, according to California Secretary of State records.
KC Paving does not have any workplace violations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is also current with its state contractor's license, which expires at the end of July and shows no violations, according to Ashley Robinson, a public affairs officer with the California Contractors State License Board. The company is registered as a general engineering contractor and is bonded and has workers' compensation, Robinson said.
Lisa Caracciolo, communications manager for the Palo Alto City Manager's office, said there is no record of a permit for the work at the church address in the city's permitting system.
"While we do not know the all the specifics at this time, it 'appears' the contractor was performing maintenance work in the church parking lot, and maintenance work such as this does not require a permit," she said in an email.
Several other faith-based and child care organizations are listed at 2490 Middlefield, including Bridgeway Church, child care facility Noah's Arc, Sacred Space, Iglesia del Nazareno Casa de Dios and Love N Care Preschool.
An employee at Love N Care said preschool staff were asked not to comment. The incident did not affect the preschool nor the children, she said.
Thursday's fatal incident is one of three major workplace incidents in Palo Alto in the past three months. On May 19, a tree trimmer died while working at the Stanford West Apartments and on June 22, a construction worker driving a cement truck was injured when the vehicle flipped over at 2600 El Camino Real.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.