By Kari Bray Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — Bradley Hogue, a 19-year-old Lake Stevens High School graduate, died Monday morning while working with landscaping equipment in Duvall.
Hogue died of blunt force injuries after falling into an auger that was being used to distribute beauty bark. He was working for Pacific Topsoils, a landscaping and supply company with 11 locations in Snohomish and King counties.
Elaine Fischer, a spokeswoman with the Washington Department of Labor &Industries, said the state has started an investigation into Hogue’s death.
Deanna Hogue, Bradley’s mother, said Monday was her son’s second day at his new job with Pacific Topsoils. He attended Everett Community College and had previously worked at Ace Hardware in Lake Stevens, but opted for a change of pace this summer, Deanna said.
Bradley was the youngest of three boys. He loved the outdoors, played soccer for eight years on the same team and enjoyed family hunting trips, hikes and bonfires on the beach. With a mathematically inclined mind, he was interested in becoming a mechanical engineer.
“He meant everything to us,” Deanna said.
The Hogues spent last weekend at the beach, one of Bradley’s favorite pastimes.
“We went to Ocean Shores and had the best weekend ever,” Deanna said. “And then at 9 a.m. on Monday, this tragic accident happened. As a parent, you do what you can to lift them up and keep them safe. But I just wasn’t there that day.”
Deanna was at home Monday evening when she saw a police car come down the dead end street she lives on. She watched the car stop, turn around and then pull up in front of her house. Minutes later, she was listening to an officer tell her that Bradley had died in a work-related accident.
“My main message that I want to get out there is that this cannot happen again,” Deanna said. “Safety is so important. That’s our message. That and to hug and love your kids every day.”
The Lake Stevens community has rallied around the family to offer support and share memories, Deanna said.
Treyson McLoughlin, 18, met Bradley five years ago when they started playing on the same soccer team. He remembers his friend as hard-working, fun-loving and respectful.
“He was a genuine guy,” McLoughlin said. “He could make friends pretty easy. Everybody could get along with him.”
McLoughlin hopes to organize a memorial soccer game in Bradley’s honor.
“I just think that everyone should keep positive because that’s what Brad would want,” he said. “He’s gone but not forgotten.”
A celebration of Bradley’s life is scheduled for 1 p.m. today at the United Methodist Church in Snohomish,
“I could ramble on forever about my son,” Deanna said. “I’ll never forget. I have so many beautiful memories.”
Fischer estimates that it take several months before the state Department of Labor &Industries releases results of their investigation of Pacific Topsoils.
“It does take a while to complete an investigation that involves a workplace death,” she said.
Pacific Topsoils released a written statement Thursday: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hogue family in this very difficult time. Pacific Topsoils is fully cooperating with State authorities in the accident investigation and has no further comment at this time.”
The company is involved in one other pending health and safety inspection, according to Fischer. The state is reviewing the company’s safety procedures for working in and around cylinders, tanks and enclosed spaces. Pacific Topsoils also was fined $600 in January for safety violations, including failure to provide an eyewash near chemicals and improper assembly or installation of an automatic fuel shutoff, fuel tank and forklift.
No violations were found after a safety complaint in 2008, and no other state inspections have taken place at Pacific Topsoils in the past six years.
Kari Bray: 425-339-343; firstname.lastname@example.org.