Man Killed in Forklift Accident at Stone Brewing Co.

Victim identified as 27-year-old brewery employee

A 27-year-old man was killed in a forklift accident at the Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido Saturday, officials confirmed.

The fatal industrial incident – which occurred while the man was on the job -- happened just before 5 p.m. at the brewing facility located at 1999 Citracado Parkway.

The victim was later identified as 27-year-old Matthew Courtright (pictured below). Stone Brewing Co. has him listed as a brewer at the company.

According to a report released Sunday by the county medical examiner’s office, Courtright was operating a forklift when, for unknown reasons, the machine rolled.

Officials say Courtright sustained fatal injuries to the chest. He was transported to Palomar Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The incident remains under investigation, and police say officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will handle the case. Officials said the investigation could take up to six months.

A Osha representative also said in the last five years there haven't been any workplace safety complaints at the company.   

Stone Brewing Co. operations and tours of the Escondido facility temporarily shut down Sunday due to the investigation, but reopened Monday morning.

NBC 7 reached out to the Stone Brewing Co. for comment and the company’s public relations specialist, Sabrina LoPiccolo, released the following statement:

“It is with a very heavy heart that we communicate a tragedy involving one of our valued friends and Team Stone colleagues. We are deeply saddened that one of our own passed away from complications resulting from a forklift accident at our Escondido brewery on Saturday, August 24. Our deepest condolences go out to the team member’s family. Out of respect for the team member’s loved ones, we are not releasing the individual’s name at this time.

We have launched an investigation and are working with authorities to determine the cause of the accident. In the interim, we have closed down brewing operations as well as tours of the brewery today (Sunday, August 25) and anticipate resuming all operations tomorrow (Monday, August 26).

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido will remain open as will Stone Company Store – Escondido. People expecting to take a tour of the brewery today will be offered a guided beer tasting at the bar located inside Stone Company Store.

We will refrain from commenting further until additional details and information is acquired and the investigation into this incident is complete. Thank you for the outpouring of support we have already received. Our sympathy is with the family and everyone affected by this tragedy."

The brewery will also observe 24 hours of silence on social media beginning today in honor of Courtright, according to LoPiccolo.

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