Construction Worker Killed in Bridge Collapse Identified

The victim was was a subcontractor who was working on the bridge as part of the 91 Freeway expansion

A construction worker who was killed in Riverside early Sunday morning when a railroad bridge he was working on partially collapsed over the 91 Freeway has been identified, officials said.

The collapse was reported about 3:15 a.m. at Pachappa Drive, snarling traffic for miles in both directions of the freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The victim was identified as 59-year-old Okesene Faasalele of Long Beach, according to a coroner's news release. He was a subcontractor who was working on the bridge as part of the 91 Freeway expansion.

Faasalel's daughter said he was a good family man who had been doing construction for at least 20 years. He leaves behind four children and five grandchildren, she said. 

The bridge was being demolished when a component on the bridge apparently buckled, officials said. That portion of the bridge, which Faasalele was harnessed to, twisted during the fall and swung him to the lanes below. He landed on his feet, but was struck by metal debris, officials said. He was the only person on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

Faasalene was taken to Riverside Community Hospital where he died of head injuries at 4 a.m., the Riverside County Coroner's Office reported.

The 91 Freeway was backed up for miles as the scene was cleared.

Caltrans and Cal-OSHA planned to conduct separate investigations to determine the cause of the fatal collapse.

Willian Avila contributed to this report

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