A Shelbyville man’s death was ruled accidental due to compression asphyxiation by a coroner’s jury Monday.

Tim Powers died as the result of as accident at the bus barn on the Shelbyville High School campus on October 10.

According to witness Scott Rader, who was working with Powers at the time of the accident, he saw Powers begin working under the bus which was jacked up. He stated he heard the bus fall, immediately approached the bus, realized that Powers was seriously injured and tried to find help. 

The ambulance and rescue squad arrived at the scene and secured a backhoe to lift the bus. Powers was taken from the scene to Shelby Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:20 p.m.

“It took approximately 30 minutes to remove him from under the bus,” said Shelby County Coroner Brian Green.

Prior to the incident, Rader said Powers was changing brake pads, rotor, and shocks on the bus. He had raised the bus on an air jack and removed the dual wheels. He went under the bus to do the work. He readjusted the jack stand, but the bus slipped off the jack. The bus came to rest sitting on the wheel hub on the back left side.

“Tim was not crushed,” said Green. “He had rolled up on his right shoulder and was squeezed, pinning him under the bus, which affected his respiratory process. The EMTs think he went immediately unconscious. He was not responsive to attempts to communicate with him.”

Green added that the autopsy report noted thoracic injuries, including several broken ribs, but no other significant injury to the body. Toxicology reports were negative for drugs or alcohol in his system.

“For all intents and purposes, he was gone instantly,” Green said.

Accident scene hygenist David Martin for the Illinois Department of Labor investigated the accident scene later that day. He tested the same jack with another bus and concluded that the jack did not fail.

He determined that Powers had used a 4x8-inch piece of metal stacked atop the jack in an attempt to stabilize the bus on the jack. The metal stack apparently slipped, dropping the bus.

“It was a precarious arrangement that the investigator called a ‘plausible scenario’,” Green said.

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