UPDATE: Man hit by falling tree identified

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email
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A man is dead after an accident at a construction site on Notre Dame's campus.

It happened at the intersection of Twyckenham and Bulla at 10:40 a.m. Thursday. Crews there have been clearing trees to put up a parking lot on the edge of the Notre Dame campus.

The St. Joseph County Coroner says 22-year-old Mark Ellsworth of Mishawaka died from blunt force trauma to the neck and chest.

Both Clay Fire and the Notre Dame Police and Fire Departments responded to the scene.

The university tells NewsCenter 16 Ellsworth was hit by a tree that was being cut down. Ellsworth worked for a contractor and is not a university employee.

The University of Notre Dame has released a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to his family, and to all those involved in this morning’s terrible accident," Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, said, adding, “Reminded how precious and fragile life is, we pray for strength and peace for all who are suffering as a result.”

R&R Excavating Inc. has also released a statement: "We are all devastated by this tragic accident. It has been a very difficult time for everyone involved. We are currently in the process of investigating the incident. Mark had been with the company for over 4 years and was a very loyal employee. At this time our main focus is supporting his family."

Work on the site has been suspended. Indiana's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident to make sure all workers had proper safety training.

Dozens of people took to social media after hearing of the accident. Ellsworth was well-known in Mishawaka. Friends say they admired his positive attitude.

"He was known for always finding the upside to the downside,"said Christina Sieczkarek, a friend of Ellsworth's. "He was just always so happy and positive and it's almost like he wanted everyone to feel that happiness. And, he wanted everyone to have that thought process of it will get better, everything's great. Just be happy and enjoy life."

Sieczkarek says Ellsworth was family-oriented and loved spending time with his daughter.

Two benefits are already being planned to help his family with funeral expenses.

The Riverfront Cafe in Niles will donate 20 percent of their proceeds to the family on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Dec. 14.

Witch Hammer Tattoo in Elkhart is also hosting a benefit. On Dec. 1, artists will be giving tattoos of roses in Ellsworth's honor for $30-$40.

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