Paver kills man

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For the second time in a week, a foothills resident has died after being crushed by a paver while working on a driveway.

Daniel Marion Stahn, 57, died Friday afternoon en route to San Joaquin General Hospital after he was run over by a paving machine at 451 Pennsylvania Gulch Road in Murphys. The accident occurred about 12:30 p.m.

According to a Calaveras County Sheriff's Department report and witnesses, Stahn was alone on the machine as it went down a steep grade. He was unable to stop the paver and was suddenly "catapulted" over the front, the report said.

Stahn, of Douglas Flat, owned the paving equipment and was working with a crew of about four people to pave a driveway at the address.

After he was thrown over the front, a nearby coworker was able to stop the paver with Stahn underneath it, saving him from the asphalt mixers toward the rear of the machine.

Stahn was pinned under the machine for nearly an hour. After an unsuccessful attempt to inflate airbags under the paver to free him, emergency workers pulled him out when a tow truck lifted the machine.

Friend and coworker Tom Vannucci said Stahn was still alive when the machine was lifted, mainly because it had been stopped before the back end reached him. Witnesses said Stahn was awake and talking, conscious as he was loaded into an ambulance.

"He's a tough bird. He's about as tough as they come," Vannucci said after Stahn had been taken from the scene.

"When we got there, a worker was laying on his tummy and talking to him under the paver," Murphys Fire Protection District Chief Phil Phillips said Friday afternoon. "When they brought him out from under, they moved him so quickly to put him on the backboard and get him out of there I don't know if he said anything to the ambulance paramedics or not."

He was rushed to a field at the Bret Harte Center, then flown by helicopter to San Joaquin General Hospital, but did not make it.

"It was a bad situation," Phillips said. "You run into those occasionally, but fortunately not too often."

The Union Democrat
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