GEARY CO. SHERIFF Geary County Sheriffs deputies, Emergency Management and paramedics were dispatched Wednesday December 4 to the 2300 block of Poland Road in Geary County to investigate a report of a man hit by a rock and knocked unconscious.
Deputies and fire personnel found the victim, identified as, Stephen Hetzler, 63, of Manhattan, Kansas unresponsive. Hetzler was pronounced dead by fire personnel on scene.
Reportedly, Hetzler was working for a local company and using explosives to detonate rocks in the area. It is believed that Hetzler was standing too close to the detonation area and was struck by one large lime-stone rock and possibly several other smaller rocks as a result of the detonation. Law enforcement witnesses reported the incident occurred sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m.
The preliminary investigation ruling identified this as a work related accident but the incident is still under investigation by the Geary County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Department of Labor-Division of Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Kansas State Fire Marshal.