Ford Employee Found Dead in Axle Plant Bathroom

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

A 24-year-old male employee was found dead overnight at Ford’s Sterling Axle Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, according to police reports. The man was discovered in a restroom stall shortly after midnight on Thursday morning. While no cause of death has been determined, the body has been transported to the medical examiners office for further investigation.

Sterling Heights police said the individual had told co-workers he wasn’t feeling well shortly before entering the bathroom. This is the second notable death at a Ford facility since December, when 41-year-old Ivan Bridgewater of Seymour, Indiana was killed at the Kentucky Truck Plant from blunt-force trauma. That incident was later ruled accidental. At the time, Ford was fined $37,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violations of established workplace safety rules. The automaker contested the fine.

The Sterling Heights incident is unlikely to face OSHA fines, as the death occurred off the factory floor. Some witnesses say they believe the 24-year-old man may have fallen prior to entering the restroom, but this remains unconfirmed.

While two curious incidents within ten months resulting in the death of a staff member seems like grounds for an automotive curse, there is nothing connecting the two deaths beyond a shared employer. Additional details should emerge following the autopsy and some police work, however.

A Ford spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press, “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and coworkers of a Ford employee who passed away after being found unresponsive in the bathroom at the Sterling Axle Plant early this morning. We are cooperating with authorities in the investigation.”

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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4 of 21 comments
  • OneAlpha OneAlpha on Sep 14, 2018

    My immediate reaction after reading the headline was, "What, now the union's going after scabs BEFORE a strike?"

  • Vent-L-8 Vent-L-8 on Sep 14, 2018

    This is how Christine started - expect some haunted F150s rolling off the line

  • Jkk6 Jkk6 on Sep 14, 2018

    When your fedex/ups co-worker/partner almost chops your head off with the truck container shutter, one would assess their current career path thinking is my life worth giving up working with low intelligence people at $12/hr?

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Sep 15, 2018

    Well I guess Elon Musk got that when morgue bit right after all.