OSHA Investigates Man's Death During Bike the Drive Prep

OSHA opened an investigation into SteamVolt on Wednesday morning

A Chicago man died Saturday afternoon in Grant Park when a commercial-grade coffee machine he was setting up fell on him during preparation for the Bike the Drive event.

James Karr, 48, lost his balance and tried to steady himself by grabbing the large machine, but it fell on his head and chest about 4:25 p.m., according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Karr worked for SteamVolt, a company that provides coffee machine services. The company had been contracted by Chicago-based Dark Matter Coffee, which sponsors Bike the Drive.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation into SteamVolt on Wednesday morning, according to spokesman Scott Allen.

According to police, the coffee machine was being set up under a tent in a field just north of Buckingham Fountain in preparation for a festival that is also part of Bike the Drive — the once-a-year event that shuts Lake Shore Drive to vehicles to make way for cyclists.

“Our thoughts are with Jim’s family,” said Ethan Spotts, a spokesman for the Active Transportation Alliance, which hosts the popular event that drew more than 20,000 cyclists on Sunday morning. “We wish them the best thoughts and prayers as they celebrate Jim’s life,” he said.

Karr, of the 1900 block of West Henderson Street, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died just before 5 p.m. Saturday.

An autopsy Sunday found that he died of multiple crushing injuries, a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office said.

His death was ruled an accident.

SteamVolt and Dark Matter Coffee did not respond to phone messages requesting comments.

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