Former manager gets 5 months in Extrudex death

NORTH JACKSON — An executive at Extrudex Aluminum when an employee was killed by falling metal racks was given five months in prison for his role in trying to cover up the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

Former plant general manager Brian K. Carder of Stow was also fined $20,000 when he was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Cleveland. He will be on three years of supervised release when he’s released from custody.

Carder pleaded guilty July 11 to a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice after initially facing charges that also included obstruction of justice and obstruction of proceedings, court records show. He was indicted in October 2018.

A second ex-manager, Paul Love of Lake Milton, safety coordinator and human resources director at Extrudex in 2012, will be sentenced Oct. 22, also to a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Love, who pleaded guilty July 19, had faced the same charges at Carder plus a charge of making false statements to law enforcement.

The charges stemmed from an investigation into the 2012 death of John Tomlin Jr. of Niles.

Tomlin, 21, was killed Oct. 30, 2012, during an incident at the plant when two metal racks stacked on top of each other, weighing between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds, tipped over onto him and another employee. The two men were pushing the racks on a roller conveyor system, according to a police report.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration began its investigation Oct. 31, 2012, and learned of multiple emails concerning safety issues with the roller system.

Carder and Love devised a plan to lie to an OSHA investigator, an indictment against the pair states. They persuaded employees, by suggesting their jobs might be in jeopardy, to draft statements recanting previous emails about safety issues, according to the indictment. Also during an interview with OSHA, Love gave false information about safety issues, the indictment states.

Extrudex, which has a parent company in Canada, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of misprision of a felony in connection with a conspiracy to obstruct justice related to the OSHA investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland. Misprision is the deliberate concealment of one’s knowledge of a treasonable act or a felony.

When the company was sentenced in August, it was fined $250,000 and placed on three years of probation.

Prosecutors alleged Extrudex, through its employees, concealed felony obstruction of justice offenses from Extrudex management in Canada and didn’t tell law enforcement of those offenses. This took place between April 2016 and Jan. 1, 2018, according to the federal attorney’s office.