Harlem authorities are investigating threats made against a Tracy-Luckey Co. official in the wake of the workplace death of the plant manager on Friday.
Homer Gay, 70, who worked at the Harlem pecan processing plant for 53 years, died after being hit in the side of his head with a 2-inch pipe, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.
Ruth Tracy Blackburn, company CEO, reported to police that two people claiming to be Gay’s grandchildren posted threatening remarks online following stories on The Augusta Chronicle and The Columbia County News-Times Web sites on Saturday, Harlem Department of Public Safety Director David Sward said.
One comment was posted on the Chronicle site under the name Tiffany at about 8:40 a.m.
Tiffany wrote: “His death could have been prevented! I am going to do everything in my power to see that you get your comeuppance! Ruth I hope you couldn’t sleep last night.”
The poster used vulgarities and claimed Gay’s death was due to negligence.
“She (Blackburn) had also received a phone call from an unknown person making some allegations and some threats,” Sward said. “Nothing specific.”
Sward said the caller, who did not identify himself or herself, cursed and made allegations and vague threats.
Gay was with employees of a contracted company installing a new air compressor at the plant in downtown Harlem. They were attempting to repair a leak, when someone said to get away.
Gay took two steps away before the leak blew the pipe at him.
Investigators called the incident “a freak accident.”
Gay, a Harlem High School graduate, worked at the plant starting in 1958.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified and sent a compliance officer from its Atlanta office to begin an inspection. OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health regulations in workplaces.
An OSHA inspection into the incident would likely take weeks to complete, if OSHA violations are found, Tracy-Luckey could be cited and fined.