(ALSIP) One of three teens who were trying to steal metal rods from a south suburban construction business died early Wednesday when 34,000-pound concrete and brick panels fell and pinned him.
The boy was identified as Dallas Harden, 16, of the 4300 block of West Park Lane in Alsip, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy Thursday found he died of multiple injuries from crushing by a concrete wall, and his death was ruled an accident.
Two 15-year-olds who were with Harden at the time were charged with criminal trespass and released to their parents, Alsip police said.
The accident happened at The Lombard Co. at 4245 W. 123rd St. in Alsip. The panels that pinned the teen were precast concrete clad with brick, used to keep the concrete walls upright, according to the company.
Authorities found Harden pinned and not breathing about 2:35 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene, a statgement from police said.
A woman who said she was the aunt of one of the 15-year-olds, the boy who called 911, told the SpouthtownStar her nephew told her the boys were looking for scrap to “make money from it.”
“One of the pipes came loose, and another pipe, Dallas was trying to kick it, and when he did, the wall came down on him. They tried to get the wall off them, but the wall kept coming down,” she said.
Her nephew had minor injuries to his ribs, she said.
“Why put your life in danger like that? Is it an adrenaline rush to know that you all can get caught?” she asked.
Alsip police Lt. Jay Miller said there’s no fence around the yard, only “No trespassing” signs.
“They probably figure it’s pretty hard to steal things that heavy,” Miller said of the company.
The steel rods were “instrumental” in keeping the construction walls in place, and when Harden removed one or more of them, the walls fell, police said.
The Lombard Co. was established in 1956 and is involved in the construction of industrial, medical, educational, commercial and municipal projects, according to its website. In a statement, the company said it is cooperating with the police investigation into the incident and was extending condolences to Harden’s family.