WA State Agency Asks for Criminal Charges in Teen’s Workplace Death

By Nick McGurk, KIRO TV

The Department of Labor and Industries is pushing for criminal charges against a company after a teenager was found dead in the blades of an auger last July. 

Bradley Hogue, 19, was on his second day of work last July at a landscaping job he’d taken with Everett-based Pacific Topsoils. 

Hogue, found by a co-worker, was tangled in the blades of an auger on a wood-chipping truck. 

L&I’s director wrote a letter this week to the King County Prosecutor’s Office asking for charges to be filed – a move so rare it only happens once every couple of years. 

“This situation is horrible, and tragic, and nobody would ever want it to happen to anyone they know,” said Tim Church with Department of Labor and Industries. 

“It’s rare for us to ask for criminal charges in a workplace safety incident, but we believe this one warrants it,” added Church. 

The L&I letter states that Hogue never should have been in that truck with machinery on, and that the only place he could stand was a moving conveyor belt. 

He didn’t receive any training, the letter says. 

In late December, L&I also fined Pacific Topsoils nearly $200,000—a fine the company has since appealed. 

L&I says they conduct thousands of inspections every year in the state of Washington. 

Last year they reported 89 workplace related deaths. 

Pacific Topsoils didn’t respond to KIRO 7’s voicemail or emails for comment on Friday night.