Worker dies in manhole accident

June 16, 2009 (CHICAGO) William Daniels, 59, was doing maintenance work in Mann Park when the accident happened.

It has been a rainy season. Chicago Park District workers told ABC7 on Tuesday they have a great deal of repairs and work that needs to be done. One of their own was out on Tuesday morning cleaning a manhole when he fell in and died.

William Daniels III was known by his friends as Gene. He worked for the Chicago Park District.

"There was a big crowd, all these fire trucks and ambulances. I couldn't believe what happened," said Emil Tomich, Hegewisch resident.

Colleagues say Daniels was working on the wading pool in the park when he apparently opened a drain and somehow slipped and fell in.

Chicago police were on the scene all morning investigating his death.

"He was observed but unresponsive. The neighbor called 911. The park district employee was transported to St. Margaret's hospital where he was pronounced. Area 2 detectives are investigating this as a death investigation," said Lt. Maureen Biggane, Chicago Police Department.

Most of his friends were too distraught to talk.

Lou Mitchell says he was just at Daniels' home for a card game.

"Great guy. Would do anything for anybody. Anything you need. If he had, he'd always give," said Lou Mitchell, Chicago Park District employee.

An autopsy will be performed on Wednesday and authorities hope it will help them learn why William Daniels died.

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