CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Chesterfield Township police say a customer is dead after being hit by flooring tile that fell from a shelf at a Menards store.
The long weekend brings many families out to hardware stores for those do-you-it-yourself projects, but for a Clinton Township couple, a routine trip to Menards turned tragic.
The Chesterfield Police and Chesterfield Fire Department arrived around 10:30 a.m. Saturday to the store on Market Place Drive, which is near N. Gratiot Avenue and the William P. Rosso Highway.
Police said a 911 caller reported a man had been struck in the head by falling objects from an upper storage shelf inside the store.
Investigators determined the customer, identified as 38-year-old Richard V. Colletti, was shopping inside the store with his wife when up to 600 pounds of ceramic tiles fell onto him.
Police told Local 4 a forklift operator had just finished putting the pallet of ceramic tiles away right at the top of an upper storage rack about 15 feet high.
The 12-by-12 tiles were stacked on a wooden pallet, and put on top of another pallet of merchandise on the top shelf. Chesterfield police said this is a common practice.
The forklift operator was still in the area when he noticed the pallet tipping and yelled out to warn the couple. Colletti's wife heard the forklift operator yelling and got out of the way, but her husband didn't hear him.
At least two shoppers saw the incident and witnesses called 911.
Colletti was taken to McLaren's emergency room in Mt. Clemens with head injuries, where he died a few hours later, according to police.
Police said at this time there is no indication of negligence and are waiting on the results from the medical examiner.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident with Menards store management and employees. Police told Local 4 the store did have the area cordoned off for a few hours before it reopened. The forklift operator and management are talking to police.
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