Worker dies in accident at Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel

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A worker at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel died after a workplace incident Tuesday afternoon.

According to Bladen County Coroner Hubert Kinlaw, Michael Jessup, 55, of Clarkton, died at the Smithfield plant as a result of injuries sustained in an accident.

A preliminary investigation by the N.C. Department of Labor revealed that Jessup died after he was struck in the head by a cylinder while trying to remove a bent wheel from a chain drive. Jessup was switching airline hoses to relieve pressure from the chain prior to being hit.

Kinlaw said EMS responded to a 911 call for a traumatic injury at the Smithfield site around 3:15 Tuesday afternoon.

Jessup was a 10-plus year Smithfield employee, Kinlaw said.

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