The widow of a construction worker who fell to his death at the coastal Hyperion wastewater treatment plant near Playa del Rey in 2011 became emotional as she told a jury Tuesday about her struggles to raise their two children as a single parent.
Testifying before a jury considering her lawsuit against Atlas Construction Supply Inc., Rosa Gonzalez said the pain from the loss of her husband has not abated in the five years since his death.
“Not one day goes by that I don’t think about him or miss him,” the 33- year-old Sylmar woman said. “He didn’t want our children to be fatherless, and now I have to face that challenge.”
Edgar Alejandro Gonzalez suffered severe head trauma when he fell 30 feet while connected to what the lawsuit alleges was an improperly secured framework structure which weighed several thousand pounds and partially landed on him when it collapsed.
Edgar Gonzalez was helping to put up a 30-foot wall panel at the plant when the accident occurred on Aug. 2, 2011, according to Cal/OSHA.
He worked for USS Cal Builders, which was the contractor on the project. The company hired Atlas to provide plans and specifications for the design and implementation of the form structures, according to the lawsuit.
USS Cal Builders had been working at Hyperion to construct a gas compressor facility to replace equipment that was about 60 years old.
Rosa Gonzalez also sued the crane operator at the site, Mr. Crane Inc., but that part of the case was settled before trial for $650,000. Half of the money went to the widow and 25 percent each went to her son, Aaron, 12, and 7- year-old daughter, Atarah.
The widow met her husband, who was 30 when he died, when she was 15 years old at a police academy celebration. They connected in part because both came from broken homes, and she said that if she could have, she “probably” would have married him at that time because he was so “gentle-hearted.”
Rosa Gonzalez narrated as her lawyer, Lars Johnson, showed photos of the couple’s 2001 wedding as well as moments of enjoyment with their children.
“He was very family-oriented,” she said. “Family mattered to him so much.”
She further described her late husband as a “homebody” who preferred to stay home with his family rather than go out. She said he also enjoyed playing video games.
She said her children are coping as well as possible as they grow up without their father.
“My kids are good. I’ve had to make decisions as a single parent,” she said. “I’m thankful I got to spend 10 years of my life with him. It was not my vision to stand here and be a widow.”
–City News Service