Coroner releases cause of death for construction worker

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Coroner's Office has determined the official cause of death for a construction worker buried in a hole at a job site in North Charleston last weekend.

Coroners confirmed Friday that 53-year-old Kenneth Drayton was buried alive and died from "traumatic asphyxia."

North Charleston Police say they were called out to the 1900 block of Harley Street around 10 a.m. last Saturday.

Investigators said Drayton was a temporary worker, who was using a backhoe to dig a hole, when he somehow fell into a hole causing the dirt to give away.

According to an incident report, Drayton's co-worker told him he was going to use a bulldozer to fill the hole up with dirt after "large metal plates" were put in place for safety.  The co-worker said he started to fill the hole by making several trips.

About 30 to 40 minutes later, the man said he realized Drayton was gone.  The co-worker said he first looked for him, before using the backhoe to to dig for him in the hole, where Drayton was found dead.

The co-worker said he never saw how Drayton ended up in the hole.  Police said the co-worker was the only person to witness the incident.

The North Charleston Fire Department and Charleston County Rescue Squad were also called out to the scene.

Noth Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said Friday that they had completed their investigation, and no charges would be filed.

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