BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Grimmway Farms issued a statement on a farmworker’s death in a carrot field one month after her death.
Rosa Miriam Sanchez died after she was struck by a work vehicle in front of her coworkers and daughter at the Grimmway Farm in New Cuyama on Sept. 20.
17 News previously reported witnesses said the driver of the vehicle was driving fast. A witness told 17 News work in the field continued as usual after Sanchez’s death.
Grimmway Farms issued a statement on its Instagram page Wednesday evening in regards to the incident.
Grimmway Farms officials said in the statement that it is important that incidents like these are investigated by authorities and they empathize with the workers’ traumas.
Grimmway officials also said from its early findings into the incident they don’t believe anyone from Grimmway told workers to continue working after Sanchez died. Cal OSHA is also investigating the incident.
The full statement says:
On September 20, 2023, a tragic accident occurred in Grimmway Farms’ bunch carrot fields in Cuyama. Ms. Rosa Sanchez, an employee of Esparza Enterprises died after being hit by a truck owned and operated by Garcia Trucking. First responders were notified immediately and arrived at the scene of the accident within minutes. The tragedy was witnessed by some of Ms. Sanchez’s family and co-workers, and we empathize with their trauma and grief. Ms. Sanchez was not a Grimmway Farms employee, but she and her co-workers are part of our extended Grimmway family. We are heartbroken by Ms. Sanchez’s death and for all those impacted by this accident.
It’s important to note that accidents like these are investigated by state and regulatory authorities, including Cal-OSHA. Grimmway Farms is fully cooperating with these investigations, and we have launched our own internal investigations into this terrible occurrence. Additionally, her employer and the trucking company are conducting their own investigations. As we fully understand what happened, Grimmway will take appropriate corrective actions and will work with the relevant contractors, requiring they do as well.
It has been suggested that employees or contractors were required to continue to work in the same field immediately after this tragic accident occurred. Based on early findings from our ongoing internal investigations, we do not believe a directive was made by Grimmway to continue work on the day of the accident. However, it is evident work should have ceased immediately. We continue to meet with employees and contractors who were present to understand what happened, so that appropriate training is undertaken to make certain this does not happen again.
While we await the final analysis and further information, we again extend our deepest sympathies to Ms. Sanchez’s family and her co-workers.Grimmway Farms
The driver was employed by the contractor Garcia Trucking, Grimmway said in its statement.
A witness previously told 17 News some of the workers left their jobs over fear for their safety.