Eastpointe mourns the death of DPW employee

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 8, 2021




EASTPOINTE — The city of Eastpointe is mourning the death of a municipal employee from injuries suffered while working on a Department of Public Works project.

At 6:20 p.m. Dec. 30, DPW employees were working to repair a water main break on Gratiot Avenue near Lydia Avenue. According to the Eastpointe Department of Public Safety, the trench around the main collapsed and trapped DPW worker Brian Theobald.

Emergency services were dispatched, and Eastpointe firefighters and nearby citizens worked to free Theobald.

“Our firefighter/paramedics and Medstar ambulance personnel administered life-saving measures and transported Mr. Theobald to a local hospital,” the Department of Public Safety posted on Facebook. “Tragically, Mr. Theobald’s injuries were too severe and he did not survive. Mr. Theobald was a valued employee of the City of Eastpointe for thirteen years. He was 45 years old. He is survived by his wife and two children.”

Theobald was born and raised in Harrison Township and graduated from L’Anse Creuse High School in 1993. He leaves behind a wife, Deanna Theobald, and children Joshua and Kennedi. He is also survived by his parents, Linda and Lou Theobald, and siblings Monica, Keith and Gina.

“Brian began his career in Eastpointe with the Department of Public Works 13 years ago. He brought nearly 30 years of experience and several career certifications to his role. He was a dedicated employee and provided support and guidance to fellow co-workers as the local union steward for the majority of his tenure. His co-workers could always count on his skill, wisdom and direction. He is remembered as a good man, fair, hardworking, dedicated and honorable,” Eastpointe City Manager Elke Doom wrote in an email. “In his spare time, Brian loved to be on his boat in the summer and in the UP snowmobiling in the winter. He also loved playing and coaching baseball. Our flags have been lowered to honor our fallen coworker and friend.”

Doom said the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into the situation, as it does with any employee who dies in the course of a job.

“We can’t speak to the cause of the collapse,” she wrote. “MIOSHA came out and took a look at the site. They look into any incident where there was a death, so that’s all we really know at this point.”

Erica Quealy, the deputy communications director for MIOSHA, said that an investigation into the direct cause of the incident is underway.

“MIOSHA has initiated an investigation of the incident that occurred in Eastpointe on December 30, 2020,” she said in an email. “MIOSHA cannot provide information on an open investigation. Typically, this type of investigation may take several weeks or months to complete.”