EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) – The family of a 26-year-old delivery driver who was killed when a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville is suing.
Returning to the scene where a devastating tornado tore through an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, family, friends and others from the St. Louis area came together to honor six lives.
A lawsuit will be filed on behalf of Austin McEwen’s family on Monday, attorneys announced Sunday afternoon. McEwen drove for a company contracted by Amazon for deliveries. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon management knew conditions were unsafe because tornado warnings had been issued, but were forcing employees to continue working instead of evacuating them.
The lawsuit also alleges that the warehouse had no basement even though it is in a tornado-prone area; the family also accuses the company of having an inadequate security plan.
Jack Casciato, a lawyer with Clifford Law Offices who represents McEwen’s family, said he believes Amazon should be held responsible for Austin McEwen’s death.
“One of the interesting facts to look at is whether Amazon placed the security profits here,” said Casciato, whose law firm is based in Chicago.
An OSHA investigation of the installation could take six months.
Clayton Cope, Kevin Dickey, Etheria Hebb, Deandre Morrow, Larry Virden and McEwen died when the tornado hit on December 10. An 84-year-old woman was killed the same night when a tornado touched down in St. Charles County.
A lawyer for the McEwen family and McEwen’s mother will hold a press conference at noon on Monday to discuss the lawsuit. News 4 has contacted Amazon for comment and is awaiting a response.
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