NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Investigators with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office are investigating an incident in which a 39-year-old Center man was run over by a forklift at a chicken farm on FM 2782 Monday night.
According to a press release from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Monday night. The initial 911 call stated that a man had been struck by a piece of machinery at the chicken farm.
When EMS and first responders got to the scene, they learned that the man, who has been identified as Rubio Munoz Rene, had been run over by a forklift. Rene was taken to Nacogdoches Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
NCSO investigators learned that the victim worked for a Pilgrim's Pride subcontractor that was catching chickens at the farm on FM 2782. Several workers witnessed what happened, the press release stated.
"Investigators learned that Rene was riding as a passenger on the side of the fork lift, while the operator was carrying poultry cages from the chicken houses to the truck where they were loading the chickens," the press release stated. "It appears that when the operator of the fork lift came to a stop that the victim slid down the side of the fork lift and underneath the front tires."
According to the press release, the forklift's operator didn't see Rene fall off the machine and thought the other man had simply jumped off the forklift and gone back to his work area.
"The forklift operator then backed up over the victim that was on the ground," the press release stated.
NCSO investigators are looking into why Rene slid off the forklift, the press release stated.
"It is unknown if the subject fell asleep or if other factors were the cause," the press release stated. "An autopsy has been ordered by precinct 4 Justice of the peace David Perkins. Investigators with the Sheriff Office have taken a blood sample from the operator of the fork lift, but there is no indication that alcohol played a factor on the operator's part. "
Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said in the press release stated that based on the investigation at this point, it appears as though the incident was a very unfortunate accident.
The Sheriff Office will continue to investigate and speak to all witness's that were present," the press release stated. "The investigation when concluded will be presented to the District Attorney Office for review.
Bridges said Rene's family members are in his and the rest of the sheriff's office staff's thoughts and prayers.