Killed by the very thing he loved the most. That’s the sad news coming out of a small town in Colorado that’s now grieving the loss of one of its most popular business owners.
Ector Rodriguez has owned the local bowling alley for many years. The 65-year-old was well-known for offering fair prices and dishing up some of the best homemade onion rings the residents of Florence, Colorado had ever tasted.
He often kept Fremont Lanes open late, giving customers a fun place to spend a night out without paying a fortune. With each game costing just $1, it was the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night.
Now the remote little town is mourning the loss of one of their favorite business owners. On Sunday, September 30, a tragic accident occurred at the very place Rodriguez loved so much.
Police officers and EMT’s responded to a call around 1:20 p.m. on that fateful Sunday for reports of a man trapped in the pin-setting machine at Fremont Lanes. Upon arriving at the scene, emergency personnel found Rodriguez unconscious, crushed underneath the pin-setting machine.
An employee of the bowling alley reported that Rodriguez had gone to fix a pin that had jammed, but when he didn’t return after a few minutes she became concerned. When she went back to check on her boss, she found him stuck in the machine and subsequently called 911.
Despite rescue efforts, Rodriguez succumbed to his injuries. After the town’s newspaper announced his passing, several residents began to share memories of their favorite bowling alley owner.
A makeshift memorial has been set up outside of the bowling alley’s entrance underneath a sign that reads “closed until further notice.” It’s unclear whether or not the business has plans to reopen underneath a different owner.
Jocelyne Bennett is a general assignment reporter at Spruce Tribune. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in her journalism career, and has lived in Hamilton for more than 6 years. Jocelyne has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.