Construction worker dies after falling 19 stories from uptown construction site

- Authorities have released new details into the death of a construction worker who fell several stories from a construction site Wednesday afternoon in uptown Charlotte.

Juvenito Mata-Hernandez, 24, was riding in a construction elevator at the 19th floor of the Legacy Union construction site when he fell out of it, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. The area is right across from the Duke Energy building and was bustling with people at the time of the incident. 

“Definitely not something we were anticipating on seeing today,” Brittany Garcia said, who works across the street.

Horrified witnesses, like Garcia, watched as emergency crews rushed to 620 South Tryon Street. The location for the construction site is part of Legacy Union, a 33 floor skyscraper.

“When I saw the medic and I leaned over to get a better view that’s when I saw the gentlemen on top of that platform with his shirt covered in blood and he wasn’t moving. That’s when I knew that something tragic had happened,” Garcia said. 

Investigators said Mata-Hernandez fell around 3:48 p.m. and was pronounced dead on the scene. The construction site is surrounded by some of the tallest buildings in Charlotte, including Duke Energy. OSHA has been called in to investigate.

Witnesses in nearby offices said they have been watching progress at the site for years.

“It’s a tragic situation and it’s unfortunate that happened especially when there is a sign that says safety week. I watched them knock the Observer down and them building this new building up,” Garcia said. 

The area is one of about half a dozen construction sites in the immediate uptown area. Safety signs and warnings are clearly posted outside.

The tragedy is a harsh reminder of the dangers construction workers face, even with top notch safety.

“It’s not the first thing you think of, but they really put their lives on the line to build our city up, so to see something unfortunate like this happen it’s just really sad,” Garcia said. 

CMPD identified the victim as Juventino Mata-Hernandez, 24, late Wednesday evening. Investigators said it’s still unclear what caused the man to fall.

Statement released by Gilbane Building Company: 

"We are saddened to report that a fatal accident occurred today involving a worker at the Legacy Union construction site. We are gathering information on exactly what happened and have no details to share at this time. We are working closely with authorities who can provide you with more details as they become available. We extend our deepest condolences to all of those affected."

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