Knox County construction worker injured while digging trench

WATE 6 On Your Side - KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The Knox County Sheriff's Office reports they worked with Rural Metro and Knox County Rescue Squad to rescue a construction worker who was trapped in a collapsed trench.

According to the report, Antino Esponiza, 31, was in a pipe ditch when a rock fell on his legs from the side wall. Joshua Evans, the owner of the excavating company, called 911 and the rescue squad arrived and was able to free Esponiza.

"The trench had been excavated. There was no one in the trench," said Evans. "The employee was standing. It's still trying to be determined, but four to eight feet away from the trench. The soil conditions were not favorable. The soil collapsed out from under the employee and he fell into the trench."

Knox County Sheriff's Office said Esponiza was in and out of consciousness and crews worked to get him out. He was taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center by Lifestar helicopter.

Evans says the man passed out several times due to his pain level, but is currently in stable condition with possible broken bones.

"His injuries are broken bones to both legs," said Evans. "Surgery went well, he's expected to make a full recovery. He's probably going to be in the hospital three to five more days with an eight week recovery time total."

Deputy Chief John Whited with the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad says these types of accidents don't happen often, but the rescue squad keeps the equipment and training to respond if necessary. The construction site at 10520 Waterville Way in West Knox County near Lovell Road is meant to become an assisted living facility.

TOSHA is investigating the incident along with another possible violation by the company that occurred in May.

"No one was injured. It was only a complaint," said Evans of the possible violation from May. "I have no idea where the complaint came from. At that point what I do know is after the interview with TOSHA and interviewing all the employees, protocol was met, everything was as it should be so that's really all I know."

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