The owner of a bowling alley in Florence, Colorado, died Sunday afternoon in a freak accident when he was crushed by the pin-setting machine.
Police and fire and rescue personnel found Ector Rodriguez, 65, trapped in the machine, unconscious and not breathing, according to the Canon City Daily Record.
Police said it was an accident, the newspaper reported.
The business was open at the time, and people were bowling, according to Fox 21 in Colorado Springs.
Rodriguez had gone back to service the machine, and when an employee hadn’t seen him in 15, 20 minutes, she went to check on him, Florence Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis told Fox 21. “And that’s when she found him trapped in the machine and called 911,” he said.
The former owner of Fremont Lanes, Larry Baker, told the Fox station that Rodriquez, who was 65, was a “one-man show” running the alley. “He’s manager as well as mechanic,” Baker said.
“And I know how pins fly and all that. I can just think of many things that could go wrong. And the other thing is, it wasn’t real modern equipment, it had some age.
“Accidents do happen.”
Social media photos show the alley is more old-school than high-tech, but nothing has been reported about the age of the equipment that killed Rodriguez.
In a town of about 4,000 residents, the bowling alley on Main Street is a hub of activity. Photos on the bowling alley’s Facebook page show kids having birthday parties, leagues playing and people posting about ringing in the New Year there.
Rodriquez sat the bench outside the alley and talked to people as they walked by, the police chief told Fox 21. After Rodriquez died, TV reports show, people left flowers and cards near the front door.
People leaving condolences on the Daily Record’s Facebook page remembered Rodriquez as an “amazing” bowler, too.