Picket struck and killed by car near the Spring Hill facility
Donations of water and food have poured in from local businesses and residents
SPRING HILL, Tenn. – A United Auto Workers fence was struck and killed Tuesday by a driver outside the General Motors facility in Spring Hill amid an ongoing strike.
UAW unions released a statement Tuesday about the worker, Roy A. McCombs, 55, of Columbia.
"Roy A. McCombs tragically lost his life today on a fence line that stands up for a better life for himself and his colleagues," UAW President Gary Jones and Vice President Terry Dittes said in a joint statement. "On behalf of UAW, we offer condolences to Brother McCombs and family, friends and staff. Today's accident is heartbreaking for UAW Spring Hill members. We will continue to work to ensure that safety is a priority on the fence line."
The wreck occurred at 6:15 a.m. at a bridge leading to the factory's southern entrance on the border with Columbia. The plant's north gate is located in Spring Hill.
"It was an accident involving a pedestrian and a car. Unfortunately, some pedestrians sustained injuries and went missing," said Columbia Police Department Lt. Jeremy Haywood.
General Motors workers Greg Hill and John Layden strike near GM plant in Spring Hill on Wednesday 2 October 2019. (Photo: Shelley Mays, The Tennessean)
Preliminary investigations and testimonies suggest that McCombs was not actively stopping at the time of the crash, but was attempting to cross the lane near the fence line, according to police. a news release by the Columbia Police Department.
The driver of the vehicle was a woman in her mid-20s who took her children to a kindergarten located on the GM property, according to Haywood.
Haywood said he is doubtful. be filed.
General Motors Manufacturing, UAW and the driver of the vehicle all cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
"We are deeply saddened to confirm that employee deaths occurred this morning from a car-pedestrian accident on a public road near GM's Spring Hill Assembly Plant south entrance," said Courtney Jackson, communications manager for GM Spring Hill.
What's next: How the UAW-GM ratification process works  Mike Herron, UAW's Spring Hill negotiation chairman, posted on Facebook that the strike at the south gate has stopped indefinitely. He also said that a crisis team has been called in to help those affected.
"No UAW members will be deployed to this site – today or at any time in the future," Herron said.
Herron extended the condolences to the family.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Brother Roy McCombs," he said.
The bridge connecting drivers to the south entrance to GM was empty October 22, 2019, after a fence died after a driver struck and killed him. (Photo: Emily West / The Tennessean)
Other fences said that today's event kept them on alert, but did not save them.
"It makes you more aware, that's for sure," GM worker Sa Eric Blackmore, standing along Highway 31 in front of a Super Target mall. "We keep our eyes open, but it doesn't worry me personally. I'm used to traffic growing up in New York City. But as you can see, we're still out here. We just keep going, even though it's a tragedy no matter how you look at it. "
Strikers near the GM Army between the entrances have taken a few steps back from Highway 31. Some even wore bright safety vests as they waved their signs.
"It's tragic – have nothing right or wrong with it," said GM worker Keith Bell outside the mansion's grounds. "You can just stand back and pay attention. It's a tragic accident, and you have his family coping with it and the driver. It's a prayer day."
The strike, which has been going on for 37 days, will continue until the contract between GM and UAW is ratified. The votes for a preliminary agreement are expected to be at 2 p.m. Friday, according to Brian Rothenberg, UAW communications manager.
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