Freak Accident Kills Three Construction Workers in Georgia

The collapse of a 35,000-pound billboard at a shopping center in Snellville, Ga., about 20 miles from Atlanta, killed three construction workers yesterday, two of them brothers. A fourth worker was injured.

Witnesses in nearby businesses heard a large noise and ran to the scene, where they discovered the massive pile of debris left by a 30-by-60-foot billboard that crashed to the ground. The billboard crushed brothers Josh and Anthony Fowler and Lance Stofiel; pinned a fourth worker, Clyde Elrod; smashed two cars; and damaged the side of a nearby building.

Rescue workers used a crane to pull part of the 20-foot-high pile of wreckage off Elrod, who was airlifted to an emergency trauma center and is hospitalized in good condition.

The workers, who were doing electrical work on the newly constructed sign, were thrown some 40 feet to the ground when it buckled.

Investigators from the city and county are on the scene, along with OSHA investigators, to try to determine why the sign collapsed and if any safety and health regulations were violated.

The city of Snellville recently lost a federal court fight restricting tall billboards.

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