Teen identified as paving worker killed by loader | News | Palo Alto Online |


Teen identified as paving worker killed by loader

Boy was run over by Bobcat in a church parking lot on Middlefield Road

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, Palo Alto Online has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.
Firefighters from the Palo Alto Fire Department remove the body of a paver who was fatally run over by a Bobcat as crews were repaving a parking lot at the Crossroads Community Church on July 12, 2018. Photo by Veronica Weber.

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.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


24 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2018 at 9:37 am

Best wishes to the victim. We really need that new police traffic unit right now.

The city recently built new traffic safety features to Middlefield Road north of Oregon Expressway and those have really helped to smooth out traffic and improve pedestrian safety. South of Oregon, Middlefield Road is a zoo and has been for years.

28 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of University South
on Jul 12, 2018 at 9:43 am

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:29 am

[Post removed.]

16 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:37 am

[Post removed.]

99 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:41 am

Online Name is a registered user.

This injury had nothing to do with transportation; it was an accident ON a construction site.

167 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:53 am

I find it so disturbing and insensitive that folks take this opportunity to talk about traffic issues when someone lost a life. What is wrong with people. Wishes to the family who lost a loved one.

50 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:56 am

Annette is a registered user.

THANK YOU, Online Name, for pointing out that this was a construction accident, and a tragic one at that.

14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:14 am

This is sad, but it was a construction vehicle and a construction worker, not the general public and nothing to do with traffic issues.

I assume that OSHA or similar will be involved in this inquiry.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:17 am

Rereading my earlier post it is still very sad for those involved in the construction and the church and its members. I don't mean to say anything that makes it seem that I am not sympathetic to the situation, just that anybody blaming traffic should rethink what they are saying.

9 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of University South
on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:04 pm

When the story first broke, it was written in a way that it sounded like it happen on Middlefield rd and not a construction site.

2 people like this
Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:24 pm

The earlier version of this story read like a road accident on Middlefield. Don't judge

13 people like this
Posted by Scooter Dan
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Condolences to the construction workers family and colleagues, this was a tragic accident, and a loss of a life is heartbreaking.

I'm confused why some people who are commenting are talking about traffic and transportation, since this happened on a construction site. Yes, traffic has gotten worse and worse over the years, but save that voice for a different post.

41 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jul 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm

I was on Middlefield and witnessed the first responders. It was IMPRESSIVE - a police SUV followed by a motorcycle cop sped by going 50+ mph on Middlefield! Then they came to a screeching halt and he morcycle cop leaped off his motorcycle and RAN FULL BORE toward the victim. Other officers quickly set it cones etc. It was incredible and WELL DONE.

15 people like this
Posted by Rest In Peace
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 12, 2018 at 6:48 pm

Sad way to go. RIP to the worker who was just trying to make the church roads a little better for us at Palo Alto.

8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm

This is an unfortunate accident.


8 people like this
Posted by GDL
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2018 at 1:26 am

Qué triste que la muerte de una persona lo tomen como tema de discusión. Un ser humano perdió la vida trabajando, eso no es un tema de debate. Que poca sensibilidad hacia las personas que querían y conocían a Alex Paulín. "A nosotros si nos duele tu muerte y deseamos que descanses en Paz".

12 people like this
Posted by Rez
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 14, 2018 at 2:49 am

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of this very young man. May he rest in peace.

Please Crossroads Church post something here on how to help this family. I am not a member of your church but would like to contribute, and am sure others would too.

10 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 14, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Only 17 years old, and trying to do an honest job. I can feel the sadness inside of me, as the prime part of his life was taken away so cruelly. I agree with Rez regarding providing some help to his family. Crossroads Church, please let us know if you can start a fund to help his family. I will contribute.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Thank you for the update, but shouldn't this be a separate thread from the original injury as the headline gives the same as when it first happened showing the rescue still in progress.

4 people like this
Posted by Seelam Prabhakar Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 16, 2018 at 12:28 am

Seelam Prabhakar Reddy is a registered user.

My prayers to the family and the victim.

At 17, he had an enormous life to live and god took him with him.


8 people like this
Posted by Jake Duckworth
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Hello, I'm the pastor at Crossroads Community Church. For those of you who posted with an interest in contributing something for the family, we are working on how to get the contributions to the family. Our congregation has also taken an offering to give the family, but we are yet to receive information on how to get it to them. I don't yet have the names of Alejandro's father or mother to whom we might be able to write a check. Once I have that information, I can notify you all here and you could bring (or mail) a check for them to the church and I will make sure they receive it. I'll keep you posted. There hasn't been a gofundme established in his name.

3 people like this
Posted by GDL+
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2018 at 10:05 pm

Alejandro Paulín was an exceptional person. Today he loses his life in a fatal accident. I agree that it is very painful to observe comments of debate before his death since it has been an irreparable loss. Rest in peace Alex we will miss you all those who love you.

7 people like this
Posted by Luis Paulin
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2018 at 9:31 am

Alejandro was my dear nephew. A boy with a great love for God and an incredibly inteligent person. We are very, very sad about this accident and his parents are devastated. Please offer your prayers for him

2 people like this
Posted by Ricardo Castañeda
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Gracias a todos por su apoyo y comentarios, la verdad es que ha sido muy difícil ya no tener a Alex mi gran sobrino y ahijado con nosotros, siempre estarás en mis pensamientos y oraciones junto a tu gran familia, bendiciones.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay up to date on local coronavirus coverage with our daily news digest email.

'A devastating impact:' The coronavirus claims Clarke's Charcoal Broiler, Mountain View's oldest operating restaurant
By Elena Kadvany | 20 comments | 6,661 views

The first few seconds after awakening; before I remember the virus
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 3,126 views

Can you stay healthy without making more trash?
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 2,513 views

Think about helping others in our coronavirus-affected area
By Diana Diamond | 5 comments | 2,330 views

Remember the failures for when it's time for fixes: COVID-19
By Douglas Moran | 15 comments | 1,801 views



The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details