Sheriff’s office ID's vineyard worker killed in Sonoma Valley tractor accident

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A Fairfield man died Tuesday morning after being crushed by a tractor implement he was cleaning in a Sonoma Valley vineyard, authorities said.

Franklin Palacios Carrillo, 34, was found by another vineyard worker about 7:30 a.m. pinned beneath his tractor’s tiller attachment, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

Carrillo was working in a vineyard managed by Walsh Vineyards Management and was apparently trying to remove a tangle of vineyard wire from his tractor’s tilling tines when the implement dropped and crushed him, according to Cal-OSHA, which is investigating.

The property where Carrillo was found, Arrowhead Vineyard, off Napa Road east of Nicholas Road, has been owned by Gundlach Bundschu Winery, though ownership could not be confirmed Tuesday.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery is listed as a client on Walsh Vineyards Management’s website.

Neither business responded to requests for comment.

When Schell-Vista firefighters arrived on the scene, they found the man trapped beneath the tractor, said Capt. Tony Anderson. By the time they were able to free him, it was clear he was dead, Anderson said.

“It appeared somebody was out there trying to do some kind of repair, and it went bad,” he said.

The death is the first investigated at a Sonoma County vineyard in at least a decade, according to Cal- OSHA records.

In April 2016, a vineyard worker drowned in a reservoir at a St. Helena vineyard, Cal-OSHA records show.

Four months after that, Cal-OSHA investigated the death of a Napa winery employee, who died while working at Joel Gott Wines after a stack of metal wine barrel racks fell on him.

The investigation into what happened Tuesday at the Sonoma vineyard could take three to four months, and Cal-OSHA has six months to issue any citations for violations of workplace safety regulations, said agency spokesman Frank Polizzi.

You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or On Twitter @SeaWarren.

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