My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Tragedy: Two 2010 Census workers killed on first day of NRFU operations in Texas

With more than 635,000 individuals working for the Census Bureau’s non-response follow-up operations (NRFU), there are statistically going to be some accidents that will occur in the field. However, it is tragic that one occurred on the first day of NRFU in Texas. To the Census Bureau employees who are reading this, please make sure that you wear your seatbelts, don’t become distracted while driving, and ensure that all drivers whom you ride with are competent, capable, and 100% drug/alcohol free when they are behind the wheel:

Area census workers killed in crash near Midland

By Adam D. Young | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Saturday, May 01, 2010
Story last updated at 5/1/2010 – 5:36 pm

Two South Plains residents who worked for the 2010 Census died in a two-vehicle crash Friday in Midland County.

The census workers were en route to Lubbock after visiting the census regional office in Midland when the 2003 Dodge pickup they were in failed to stop at an intersection and collided with a tractor-trailer about 12:25 p.m. Friday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety in Midland.

The pickup’s driver, 67-year-old Merlyn David Millsap of Levelland, died Friday at Midland Memorial Hospital. His passenger, 31-year-old Sara Elizabeth Pierce of Brownfield, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families,” Dallas-area Census spokeswoman Kimberly Murphy said in a statement Saturday. “This is a horrible tragedy for all of us.”

Millsap and Pierce had been in Midland to pick census materials to deliver to Lubbock, Murphy said in the statement. Census Bureau workers retrieved the census materials Friday from the accident scene.

Investigators said Millsap was about four miles north of Midland on State Highway 349, the newly opened Tom and Nadine Craddick Highway, when he failed to stop at a stop sign and his vehicle was hit in the side by the tractor-trailer that was traveling northwest on State Highway 158. The driver of the tractor-trailer, 40-year-old Heriberto Jaquez of Midland, Saturday was in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries at Midland Memorial Hospital.

All of the vehicles’ occupants were wearing seat belts.

Follow and read Sunday’s Avalanche-Journal for more on this story.

Tags: accident, , , , , , Lubbock, materials, Midland, , seatbelt, seatbelts, , truck

9 Responses to “Tragedy: Two 2010 Census workers killed on first day of NRFU operations in Texas”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Condolences and prayers for both families and friends.

    Stephen, thank you for quickly posting this article.

  2. Lerrin Says:

    Am so sorry that this happened, but am also sadly not surprised- am surprised that this hasn’t happened before.
    Have seen many office clerks (at $9.50/hr in our area) pressed into ‘emergency’ service as couriers (using their own vehicles) to get materials from point a to point b (which can be ~100 miles apart, one way) if that needs to get there TODAY.
    Too risky for my taste- while the mileage ($0.50/mile) can be attractive for some, I’m not confident that there wouldn’t be a big mess in getting proper insurance compensation if an accident occurred.
    Most auto insurers do NOT insure your private vehicle for work use, especially for courier work!
    Given my past experiences (4 tours of duty with the Census): I can just see the Census bureaucracy using a ‘conspiracy of confusion’ to delay or even refuse to provide proper coverage.

  3. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Lerrin, these are some very interesting points that I will immediately look into.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you, Stephen.

    One-half of one NRFU crew quit or did not show up today.

  5. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Anonymous – How come they quit or did not show up?

  6. Vanessa Says:

    It was bound to happen . I work for the Dawson county area and there are many of us. It does not matter if they were census workers this happens all the time to ordanary people. Pay close attention to stop sighns just like anyother day.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Stephen, regarding 1/2 NRFU crew quitting/not showing up yesterday: they never told us the reason — just said those individuals would no longer have a job.

  8. Alex Says:

    1st off..LERRIN…Sounds like it was an accident cause by someone not paying attention and NOT because they were working for the census. As a crew leader for NRFU in TX, please don’t make it as it was the CENSUS’s fault. Anyone can get killed just for going to the store. Half my crew didn’t show up to my class for NRFU. I called each one and all said they were attending. But ended up as no shows or had school. Sounded like the training conflicted with their regular job schedule. All days are required to work. Also, it was read and told that the .50 a mile was reimbursement for the use of your vehicle and included repairs and ETC. So insurance was included..So that $.50 covers all of it…Wish it was more but it’s a job and was told up front.

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