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'This has to stop:' Family files lawsuit against Nichiha plant after workplace death

Willie Bonner was crushed by machinery and died after a robotic arm knocked him onto a conveyor belt. Now, his family wants answers.

MACON, Ga. — "We just want answers, we really want my brother back," Willie Bonner's sister Ruby said.

Tears from Ruby Bonner, one of nine siblings in the Bonner family who just lost their brother, Willie, to a work-related accident at the Nichiha plant in south Bibb.

"I'm sure everybody at that company has emergency call numbers. No one called us to say something had happened to him or something was going on, he was going to the hospital. We still haven't got a call," Ruby Bonner said.

Desperate for answers, the family hired Attorney L. Chris Stewart from Atlanta.

"At least have the respect to call this family. Maybe going that route could've avoided them hiring lawyers and being upset and hurt, but this has to stop in Macon," Stewart said.

Since the opening in 2007, Macon's Nichiha plant paid more then $200,000 in federal fines for a string of accidents that included one death and six amputations.

"The Nichiha plant has notoriously gotten away with multiple instances of tragedies happening  at that facility. How many people have to die before something's done?" Stewart said.

OSHA, a federal workplace safety agency, is looking into the accident. 

Stewart says once they get those details, they'll move forward with legal action.

"They obviously aren't taking the recommendations seriously. Why would you when you make over a billion a year? You don't have to listen to a $100,000 fine. So hopefully they'll listen to the lawsuit that will be coming," Stewart said.

Bonner's daughter Ronique Brown hopes the lawsuit will keep accidents from happening to anyone else.

"I know he's looking down on me, he's giving me the strength to do all of this but I'd rather want him back with me today," Brown said.

Five years ago, OSHA put the plant into its severe-enforcement program for serious, repeat violators.

RELATED: 'How many have to die before something’s done:’ Family of man killed at Nichiha plant announces lawsuit

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