NewsLocal NewsCharlotte County


Two men dead in Charlotte Co. trench collapse

Burnt Store Road Trench Collapse
Posted at 3:43 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 12:05:22-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Charlotte County officials do not believe there was criminal or foul play involved in Monday's trench collapse that killed two workmen.

What to know:

  • 2 workers killed while working on water line identified
  • Task Force Six called to help in rescue effort
  • OSHA begins its own investigation
  • Cause unknown but foul play/criminal intent not suspected

Just before noon Tuesday, officials identified the victims as 41-year-old Marcos Santiz-Lopez and 25-year old Brandon M. Coburn.

Around 3:30 p.m. Monday, two men were working on a water and sewer project at Tucker's Point near Burnt Store Road and Notre Dame Boulevard. The ground collapsed and nearby workers called 911.

When firefighters got to the scene, they rescued one man in the hole. They tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead.

The other man was still trapped about eight to 10 feet down. Firefighters, including Florida's Task Force 6, tried to carefully find the missing man. The biggest challenge was making sure the hole did not collapse any further, according to Charlotte County Fire and EMS Public Information Officer Todd Dunn.

It took crews at least four hours to secure the hole before going in. Charlotte County Public Works arrived to drain some of the debris in order for crews to see.

"For a good outcome, we're hoping for a pocket of air for him to breathe," Dunn said.

Shortly before 7:15 p.m., they recovered the second man's body.

Florida Urban Search & Rescue Task Force One assisted in Monday's retrieval efforts. They are a specially-trained team from 12 different local agencies. They are best known for their assistance immediately following the Surfside condominium collapse last year.

Charlotte County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit will take over the primary investigation. No signs of foul play or criminal intent have been found in their initial investigation.

Dunn says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate the incident as it's not clear what caused the trench collapse.

Burnt Store Road was shut down in both directions in the early stages of the investigation but had reopened by early Tuesday morning.

About the area

Late last year, county commissioners approved a plan with the Tucker's Point residential/commercial development to get water and sewer line connections to the property.

The five-mile extension of utilities is expected to cost about $14 million, with the county paying just over $3 million, and the Tucker's Point One Limited Partnership footing the rest of the bill. The developer is also in charge of hiring the contractors to do the work.