Poestenkill man blames neglect for crane accident that killed brother

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Ryan and Darren Miller grew up in Poestenkill. They were best friends and Ryan adored him.

On October 1, 2022 at 7 a.m., Darren went to work at the R.J. Valente gravel quarry. He was declared dead by 8:13 a.m.

According to the Mine Safety Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Darren was killed when a cable broke from a crane, and Darren was struck by a 285-pound hook ball.

Their report says Anthony Valente was operating the crane and activated the system override to bypass the safety system. 

Ryan’s brother-in-law told him that Darren had died.

Ryan read the report and learned about how the bypass safety could be overridden.

He also discovered through the MSHA report that the crane – brought to the mine two years earlier – was a rental and was damaged in a rollover.

The MSHA report said repairs were made to the crane, but the crane was then not certified or inspected by the manufacturer.

A letter was sent to R.J. Valente in 2021, telling them that the damage to the crane meant it was not fit for service. 

Investigators learned the crane was used at the mine soon after the operator made repairs.

The crane operator was indicted for second-degree manslaughter. Now Darren’s death is being used in training videos.

Learn about how Ryan is now working to get justice for his brother by watching the video of Elaine Houston’s story.