Fort Worth

Relatives of man who died under truck sue salvage yard, allege faulty stands failed

The relatives of a man who suffocated under the weight of a pickup truck have filed a lawsuit alleging that the Fort Worth salvage yard where he died in August was negligent.

Adrian Mauricio was a customer at the self-service yard, Dos Amigos Pull and Save, where there are hundreds of vehicles at Decatur and Irion avenues. The lawsuit alleges the salvage yard improperly used wheel stands that supported the truck Mauricio died beneath on Aug. 14.

Mauricio, who was 46 and lived in Wise County, arrived at the yard in search of a trailer hitch receiver.

He was directed to a Chevrolet Silverado that had the part he needed mounted beneath the bed.

The lawsuit, filed on Sept. 17 by Arlington attorneys Kelly Curnutt and Patrick Wadlington Jr., seeks more than $1 million, though it does not identify a precise amount.

A spokeswoman for Fletcher, Farley, the Dallas law firm that represents the salvage yard and its parent company Tapper, LTD, declined to respond to the lawsuit’s allegations.

According to the lawsuit:

The truck’s wheels had been removed. The salvage yard had raised the truck off the ground using self-made wheel stands.

A wheel stand is generally built using two vehicle rims without tires. One rim is placed horizontally on the ground and the second is placed vertically on top of the bottom rim. Three or four wheel stands are then placed under the yard’s vehicles to raise them.

The part that Mauricio sought was bolted to the truck’s undercarriage and frame. To access the bolts and remove the trailer hitch receiver, Mauricio needed to lie under the rear of the truck.

The truck was being supported by four wheel stands that were resting on loose soil, the lawsuit alleges.

While lying down, Mauricio removed some of the bolts attaching the trailer hitch receiver to the truck’s frame. As he continued, “the wheel stand supporting the truck on the rear passenger side of the truck failed, allowing the truck’s frame and all of its weight to collapse on top of Mr. Mauricio, ultimately killing him.”

The salvage yard did not use “reasonable care in the manufacture, design and/or placement of the wheel stands beneath the truck,” according to the lawsuit.

Mauricio had six children with his wife of 30 years, Norma Rodriguez.

Mauricio “was a do-it-yourself type of man, and an honored provider to his family. He was a skilled craftsman in marble and granite work for residential homes and commercial buildings,” according to the lawsuit.

“Simply put, Mr. Mauricio was the glue and heartbeat of the Mauricio family.”

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Emerson Clarridge covers crime and other breaking news for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He works evenings and reports on law enforcement affairs in Tarrant County. He previously was a reporter at the Omaha World-Herald and the Observer-Dispatch in Utica, New York.