16-year-old dies in accident at Mar-Jac Poultry plant

The accident occurred around 8 p.m. on July 14 at the Hattiesburg poultry processing plant on James Street.
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 3:17 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A teenage boy is dead after an accident at a local chicken plant.

The accident occurred around 8 p.m. on July 14 at the Mar-Jac Poultry MS LLC’s Hattiesburg poultry processing plant on James Street. According to a press release from the company, an employee conducting sanitation operations died of injuries sustained in the accident.

Forrest County Deputy Coroner Lisa Klem identified the employee as a 16-year-old Hispanic male from Hattiesburg and said he died on the scene.

Klem said the coroner’s office did notify the teen’s family but withheld his name due to his age and ongoing investigations. However, friends and family of the teenager have identified him as Duvan Pérez in social media posts.

The cause of death is pending an autopsy.

In the company’s press release, Mar-Jac Complex Manager Joe Colee said the company sent condolences to the teen’s family and friends.

“Our employees are our most valuable asset, and safety is our number one priority,” said Colee. “We strive daily to work as safely as possible and are truly devastated whenever an employee is injured.”

Mar-Jac Poultry said they have notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office and are cooperating in investigating the incident.

“Any issues identified in the investigation will be corrected immediately,” reads the press release.

This is not the first time Mar-Jac Poultry has had a fatal accident at their Hattiesburg processing plant. In 2020, two men were killed in separate accidents just six months apart - 33-year-old Joel Velasco Toto and 48-year-old Bobby Butler.

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