Worker who killed man with forklift may face charges

Police may file charges against a Morrow worker who waited five hours to report that he killed another man with a forklift, the victim's family said Friday.

Randy Earl Pike, 51, died May 7 when he was impaled by a forklift at a warehouse on Mount Zion Boulevard, according to a Clayton County police report.

Police initially ruled the death an accident and said no charges would be filed.

On Friday, Pike's family said there are still questions surrounding the death and police are investigating.

Victor Manuel Lopez, the driver of the forklift, waited five hours before reporting the death to police, according to the police report.

"The guy told the police he panicked," said Christopher Reese, Pike's stepson. "It seems a little shady because they were the only two that were there and it took five hours to report it. I don't feel like I will ever know the truth."

Clayton police spokesman Officer Kevin Hughes said Friday that the investigating detective was not available and he had no information other than what was in the police report.

According to the report, Lopez, 42, told police that Pike was teaching him how to operate the forklift.

Pike was standing against a wall working a hydraulic lift in front of the forklift. Lopez said he tried to stop the forklift, but couldn't, the report stated.

The forklift impaled Pike in the chest, killing him, according to the report.

Instead of calling police, Lopez got on a bus.

Lopez told police he was in a "state of panic" and attempted to take a bus to his employer, Pars Car Sales on Southlake Parkway, to report the incident. However, he took the wrong bus and had to walk back to work, he told officers.

Police found Pike dead, slumped over a pallet.

"The guy told police he meant to adjust the forks up or down and hit the gas, and went into the wall," Reese said. "It's tragic."

The incident is also under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Pike's family is also talking to a lawyer, Reese said.

Pike, of Jonesboro, had worked there several years.

"He was a hard worker, but was always smiling," Reese said. "He had rough hands and had laborious jobs his entire life."

In addition to Reese, Pike leaves a daughter, stepdaughter and his wife, Sylvia.

Police also initially said that Pike did not speak English. However, Reese said his stepfather spoke only English.