Employee killed in accident at Columbia City SDI plant

March 26, 2019

A Leo-Cedarville man killed at a Whitley County factory was a baseball fan who worked hard to support his wife and two children, according to his family.

Kevin M. Sieber, 55, was crushed to death Friday afternoon at the Steel Dynamics Inc. plant in Columbia City. He is survived by his wife, Amber, and two teenage daughters.

“His main focus was to take care of and work for his family,” his sister-in-law April Knox said Monday. “He loved his family.”

Emergency crews were called about 1 p.m. Friday to the Fort Wayne-based company’s Structural and Rail Division, where an accident was reported. Sieber, a lab technician, was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Randy Dellinger, Whitley County’s coroner, said the cause of death was crush injuries, and he ruled the death an accident.

“The actual circumstances of the death are still being investigated,” Dellinger said.

Tricia Meyers, Steel Dynamics investor relations manager, said in an email the company contacted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigates workplace injuries.

“An investigation is underway, and we are working closely with the appropriate authorities,” she said. “This has been devastating to the Steel Dynamics family. Our deepest sympathies and our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin’s family and friends.”

Marc Gatton, Whitley County’s sheriff, said his office is not investigating the death.

At least two other deaths have happened at the Columbia City plant. A 44-year-old Albion man was killed in 2013, and a man was killed in 2009 when he was run over by a piece of equipment.

Sieber was born in upstate New York and worked as a bartender, a restaurant manager and for the TinCaps baseball team, according to an obituary published Monday.

“On a perfect day, Kevin would be home with his wife and daughters eating his wife Amber’s wonderful food together,” the obituary states. “He also enjoyed being in his garage watching Ohio State sports. Kevin was always willing to help those in need and truly had a servant’s heart.”

The Columbia City plant is Steel Dynamics’ second-largest facility, according to a profile on the company’s website. Workers there produce steel used in commercial and industrial construction and railway tracks.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Grabill Missionary Church, with calling one hour before. Calling is also scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the church.