Dyer man dies following construction accident at Northwestern University

2013-05-16T20:57:00Z 2013-05-17T09:21:03Z Dyer man dies following construction accident at Northwestern UniversityElvia Malagon elvia.malagon@nwi.com, (219) 933-3246 nwitimes.com

DYER | A Dyer man was killed Thursday in a construction accident at Northwestern University, officials said.

Michael Kerr, 57, of the 2400 block of Hart Street, died at North Shore University Hospital following the accident, officials said.

Kerr was working on the construction site in the southeast part of the Evanston campus about 7:15 a.m. when a beam on the sixth floor of a building was knocked off by a construction crane, according to a news release from police. The beam hit Kerr in the head and chest.

The Cook County medical examiner's office said an official cause of death had not been ruled Thursday. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

The construction site was shut down for the day and Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the scene, police said.

Northwestern University said in a statement Kerr was employed by Power Construction Co. LLC, of Schaumburg. The company was working on the construction of the Music and Communication building, which will house the Bienen School of Music and the School of Communications.

Kris Ostby, Kerr's neighbor, said her family was reeling from the news of her neighbor's death Thursday night. Ostby said she had known Kerr for about 10 years and their sons grew up together.

"He worked this job for so long and he was so close to retirement," she said. "It feels so unfair."

Her son, Rob Ryder, said he is close friends with Kerr's son, and he considered Kerr to be like a second father.

"He'd do anything for us," said Ryder, 21.

Ostby said Kerr liked to fish in his spare time. He owned two boats and talked about wanting to retire in Florida at the end of the year.

A large boat was parked on his home's driveway.

"We're going to miss him a lot," she said.

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