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Worker died after falling 19 stories from construction elevator, police say

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officers and construction workers gather at the scene where a worker fell to his death on Wednesday.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officers and construction workers gather at the scene where a worker fell to his death on Wednesday. mwalsh@charlotteobserver.com

The 24-year-old man who died at an office building under construction in uptown Charlotte this week was riding in a construction elevator when he fell out of it at the 19th floor, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Thursday.

Juventino Mata-Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The construction site at 620 S. Tryon St. is part of the Legacy Union development, on the former Charlotte Observer site. Workers are building a 33-story office tower, most of which has been leased by Bank of America. The project is being developed by Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs.

Representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, were on the scene Wednesday.

Lincoln Harris is cooperating with authorities to investigate the death, Lincoln Harris president Johno Harris said in a statement Thursday night.

"We join our construction partner in offering our deepest sympathies to those affected by the tragic event that occurred Wednesday," Harris said.

A spokesman for Rhode Island-based construction firm Gilbane Building Co. said the company also is cooperating with authorities. "We are saddened to report that a fatal accident occurred today involving a worker at the Legacy Union site," spokesman Wes Cotter said. "We're gathering information about exactly what happened. ... We extend our deepest condolences to all those affected."

The tower is expected to open in 2019, and at 640 feet it will be the fourth-tallest building in Charlotte. Workers have built about 25 floors of the new tower so far. They've been pouring concrete to build the higher floors and installing glass windows on the exterior of the building up to about the 13th floor.

Anyone with information about Mata-Hernandez's death is asked to call police at 704-432-8477 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak.
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