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Family Demands Answers Following 49er Stadium Construction Site Death

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Levi's Stadium, 49ers, Santa Clara, construction

An aerial view of Levi’s Stadium under construction in June, 2013. (CBS)

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SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – A son of an elevator worker who was killed Tuesday at the construction site for the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara said Wednesday the family is struggling to come to grips with the loss and wants answers.

“I really have no idea what’s going on,” Cody White, 32, said of the death of his father, Donald White, in an apparent accident inside an elevator shaft.

“We’re just kind of holding on, figuring it out,” Cody said from his home in Redwood City.

Family members were set to meet Wednesday with Donald’s wife, Wendy, who came to Redwood City from the couple’s home in Sacramento, “and we’ll be getting things sorted out,” he said.

The accident was reported at 6:53 a.m. at the future site of Levi’s Stadium, the $1.3 billion football stadium project at Centennial Boulevard and Tasman Drive set to open in 2014.

White, 63, was an employee of subcontractor Schindler Elevator Corp. and a 43-year veteran in the elevator trades, according to Robert Rayborn, stadium project co-director with general contractor Turner-Devcon.

The union worker was apparently standing on a ladder beneath the counterweight of an elevator when the counterweight “came down and struck him,” said Peter Melton, a spokesman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which is investigating the incident.

Turner-Devcon halted construction after White’s death and announced that work on the stadium would not resume until early Thursday morning.

Cody White said his family wants to know exactly what occurred at the time Donald was killed.

“We have questions and they will be answered,” he said. “They will take a little bit of time.”

Donald had been living with Wendy in Sacramento but was staying at Cody’s home temporarily while working on elevators for the stadium project “so he wouldn’t have to be by himself in a hotel room,” Cody said.

“He was our Dad, he was the best,” said Cody, a communications electrician and one of Donald’s four adult sons.

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly—he’d give you the shirt off his back,” Cody said.

An office worker at the San Francisco-based International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 8, of which Donald White was a member, said that the union’s business manager was at a meeting at the construction site Wednesday morning.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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