2 families awarded $8 million for grain bin deaths

MOUNT CARROLL – An Illinois jury has awarded $16 million to the families of two teenagers who died in a 2010 grain bin accident.

The Carroll County jury reached its judgment after a 13-day trial, awarding $8 million each to the families of 19-year-old Alejandro Pacas and 14-year-old Wyatt Whitebread.

The workers were in a Haasbach LLC grain bin to help the corn flow while machinery was running. The pair became trapped in corn more than 30 feet deep along with a third worker who was rescued after six hours.

Haasbach, which is now out of business, paid $200,000 in federal fines for more than two dozen violations. It also paid more than $68,000 for violating child labor laws.

The jury found Haasbach owner Consolidated Grain and Barge ultimately responsible for the deaths.