Johnson City Press: Johnson City man killed in industrial accident in Unicoi

Johnson City man killed in industrial accident in Unicoi

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated May 8, 2018 at 6:37 PM

UNICOI — A Johnson City man was killed early Tuesday in an industrial accident at Specialty Tires of America.

Sheriff Mike Hensley said a worker at the tire plant, Ben Shew, was killed when a piece of his clothing apparently became entangled in an conveyor.

Hensley said he was called to the plant around 4 a.m. Emergency Medical Service responders arrived and Shew was pronounced dead at the scene.

“From what I was told he was working on the conveyor,” Hensley said. “He had a wrench and he was working on the conveyor. It was his shirt that became entangled and it pulled him into the conveyor.”

Hensley went to Shew’s Johnson City home and notified his wife of his death following the accident.

“It was bad. I hate it for his wife. They have small children,” Hensley said. “Our hearts go out the family. Prayers from our whole department go out to his family and to his coworkers.”

The accident was third industrial work site fatality in the Johnson City area in the past two months.

On March 10, James Reed, an employee of the QEP Co. on Eddie Williams Road, was killed in a silo collapse that occurred as he was spraying sawdust off the inside walls of the silo.

On March 14, Paul Cash was killed and another man was seriously injured in an explosion at Light Resources Llc., a fluorescent light bulb recycling facility located on Boggs Lane off Buffalo Road.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at

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