Worker to testify before Congress months after tug driver dies at airport

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A fatal accident involving an employee in August 2019 at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport has caught the attention of the U.S. Congress.

Kendrick Hudson, 24, was driving a tug when it hit luggage that had fallen onto the tarmac, flipping the vehicle.

The tug landed on Hudson and killed him.

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Airport employees contacted Channel 9 in the weeks that followed and said they were concerned about the lighting in that area.

As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues its investigation into the incident, a friend and co-worker will testify in front of Congress on Wednesday.

Donielle Prophete said she will ask for federal changes to protect workers at airports.

"It's super dangerous,” said Prophete, who is with Communications Workers of America. “You don't even realize how dangerous it is.”

Workers have said the lighting may have contributed to Hudson’s death, which happened between Gates E31 and E35.

Prophet said it is still a problem.

"I'm still emailing complaints about the lights," Prophete said. She will testify before the House subcommittee on Aviation.

She hopes lawmakers, such as Rep. Donna Shalala, FL-27, will implement laws to keep workers safe.

Prophete said she and the other speakers plan to ask the House Committee for specific changes including better lighting on the tarmac, carts with closures to contain baggage, visible and clear painted traffic lines and safer tugs with better stability and safety features.

"We have laws in this country,” Shalala said. “We expect workers to be treated decently and to be paid appropriately."

Hudson worked for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. Charlotte’s airport’s director, Brent Cagle, said he is looking into lighting where tugs operate.

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