Randy Panchak Sr., 56, was pinned by heavy machinery around 2:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Elyria Fire Department and his family. He was freed by the time firefighters arrived and was later flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he died from internal injuries, his family said Tuesday.
Hugh Shannon, administrator for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Panchak was pronounced dead at 4:18 p.m. His death was caused by blunt force trauma and has been ruled accidental, but Shannon said there are still tests that need to be completed before additional information can be released.
Plasto-Tech Plant Manager Dean Yoder called Panchak a “valued employee,” but said he couldn’t comment on what happened because of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director, confirmed her agency was investigating a fatal accident at Plasto-Tech but couldn’t provide any details.
Panchak’s family said that the U.S. Army veteran had worked at the company for nearly 20 years.
Russ Panchak Sr. said he didn’t know exactly what caused his brother’s death, but Randy Panchak did routinely perform minor repairs on machinery at the company.
“My brother was a jack-of-all-trades. He was very mechanical,” he said.
Russ Panchak said his brother enjoyed tinkering with engines and other mechanical devices as well as outdoor sports such as camping, fishing and kayaking. He also had been in the process of renovating his house.
Randy Panchak’s obituary said he also enjoyed gardening, bicycling and NASCAR.
Rachelle Panchak, Randy Panchak’s ex-wife, who is described in his obituary as his “confidant and soul mate,” said she was shocked by the suddenness of her ex-husband’s death.
“He just tried to enjoy life,” Rachelle Panchak said. “He was a hard worker. He was just a real good person. I’m sorry he had to go so soon.”
She said she and Randy Panchak have three sons.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.