Albany family looking for answers in Americus man’s workplace accident death

Albany family looking for answers in Americus man’s workplace accident death
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 7:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2023 at 1:34 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - WALB is investigating the death of a 54-year-old man who had a workplace accident on June 30 and died two weeks later.

According to Sumter County Coroner Mathis Wright, Tony Lee Stafford died because of complications following an accident at a worksite. His family believes he wasn’t properly cared for by his employer, Golden Gourmet, a food distributor in Americus.

Stafford's family said he worked at Golden Gourmet, LLC for a year.
Stafford's family said he worked at Golden Gourmet, LLC for a year.(walb)

The family turned to WALB because they said they haven’t heard from Stafford’s employer since the accident. He died a week ago after his family says his condition rapidly deteriorated. WALB Investigates has been digging into this for days but hasn’t gotten any information from the company despite multiple calls and an in-person visit. There also weren’t any records that 911 was called and according to Wright, someone at his worksite drove him to the hospital.

“I would like to see something done, in his honor, in his memory,” said Leslie Johnson, Tony’s sister.

Tony’s family describes him as a hard-working man who dedicated his life to many things — including his jobs.

On June 30, Stafford’s family says they got a call from some of his co-workers that something had fallen on him at work and he was badly hurt. Police and EMS told WALB, no one from the company called them. Wright said someone put him in the back of a truck and drove him to a hospital. Johnson says she immediately drove from Albany to Americus to see him.

“He couldn’t really talk to me, he was in and out. He was swollen. He was crushed. All in his face and chest area and his legs were messed up bad,” Johnson said.

Tony’s condition got worse and he died on July 14. A Macon medical examiner determined Tony’s cause of death was, “delayed complications from blunt force trauma to face and chest from an accident that occurred at the worksite on June 30.”

Golden Gourmet, LLC is located on Industrial Boulevard in Americus.
Golden Gourmet, LLC is located on Industrial Boulevard in Americus.(walb)

“To this day, I have not received a call from his job. They have not called us,” Johnson said.

WALB News 10′s Lenah Allen called Golden Gourmet directly to see if she could get any answers about what happened on the day of the accident, but the person who answered hung up.

A 911 call log WALB obtained from Gold Star EMS in Americus for June 30 shows there’s no record of a call made from Industrial Boulevard where Golden Gourmet is located.

“They handled it terribly. Is that they should have called 911,” said Wright.

Wright said four days after Tony passed away, he called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to see if Golden Gourmet had reported the workplace injury, but he says he was told by OSHA it was the first they had heard of it.

“Normally what happens, the business usually does it right away. That doesn’t mean that they were outside the guidelines because they have approximately up to 30 days to report the accident,” Wright said.

The family said they just want some type of accountability from his employer.

“He will be very missed. My dad did not deserve to be treated like a rag doll. He didn’t, because he was human,” said Felicia Stafford, Tony’s daughter.

While the family waits for OSHA’s investigation to wrap up they tell WALB they plan to take legal action on their end to get closure in this unexpected tragedy.