In the second fatal truck accident on St. John in just more than a month, 40-year-old James Ginther was crushed to death under a broom truck late Friday afternoon, February 1, in Estate Chocolate Hole.
Ginther parked the broom truck outside of a Chocolate Hole home and was not in the vehicle when it started rolling, according to St. John Rescue spokesperson Bob Malacarne.
“The victim was doing landscaping work on a private residence and was out of the truck doing some work,” Malacarne said. “The truck started to roll backwards and he didn’t want anyone to get hurt so he went running after the truck. The truck rolled over a small retaining wall and flipped on its side and he ended up beneath it.”
St. John Rescue officials — the first emergency responders on the scene — received a call of an overturned vehicle on Chocolate Hole East Road around 4:30 p.m. on February 1, explained Malacarne.
“Rescue was the first on the scene and we saw a large landscaping truck on its side on the lower part of a road below a driveway,” Malacarne said. “All we could see was the flipped truck. We activated all of our emergency equipment.”
“We used the jaws of life to cut the cab and air bags to raise the truck high enough to get the victim out,” added Malacarne.
Emergency responders tried calling out to Ginther, but did not get a response, Malacarne added.
“We tried establishing verbal contact with the victim but he never answered once,” said Malacarne. “It took us 15 minutes to get the truck high enough to pull him out. When we got him out he was unresponsive and had no pulse.”
Ginther was taken to the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center where he was prounounced dead and identified, according to V.I. Police Department Deputy Chief Darren Foy.
“The victim’s wife confirmed his identity at 5:30 p.m.,” Foy said. “He was crushed to death from the truck when he was pinned underneath.”
Ginther is survived by his 9-year-old daughter Maia, his son Brandon and his wife of more than 20 years Tina Petitto, as well as other family members.
A memorial service celebrating Ginther’s life on Thursday, February 7, at Trunk Bay was attended by many residents who remembered his great sense of humor and warmth.
On December 27, 2007, two men were killed when the Centerline Concrete truck they were in skidded off the side of the road and flipped over in Virgin Grand Estates.