Mid-Michigan mother opens up after losing her son in a tragic trench collapse

LAPEER COUNTY (WJRT) (09/13/19) - A mid-Michigan mother is opening up after losing her son in a tragic accident.

His mother was setting up a camping trip for the weekend in Davison when she received a shocking phone call from her other son. 24 hours later, she's still in disbelief.

On Thursday afternoon, the Lapeer County Central Dispatch received a call about a trench cave-in at Imlay Place Condos. The construction worker trapped inside was Craig Earl Wagner Jr., and he died on the scene. His mother, Tamara Jurn, rushed to the hospital.

"They had half of his face covered and most of his body covered. I really got to see just half of his face and hold his hand. All I wanted to do was wake him up, and I knew that wasn't going to happen," Jurn said.

Friends and family called the 38 year old Earl. They say he was an incredibly skilled worker who was hardworking and always helped others.

"He built basements. He could take your garage door apart and put it back together. He could look at it and tell you your springs were wrong.
He wouldn't stop until the job was done, and he'd put 100 percent into it. He'd work ten or twelve hour days hauling block. He loved it," Jurn said.

Earl was helping run his family business, Wagner Brothers Farms & Services, after his dad passed away just two years ago. He leaves behind a wife, who he married less than a year ago, three children, and two step-children.

He was carrying on his family's legacy on a 160-year-old farm that meant everything to him.

"His kids, his wife, and that farm meant the world. He wanted to make that farm a lifestyle for his kids. He wanted them to be farmers. He wanted them with John Deere tractors, and he was buying more equipment to build up that farm," Jurn said.

Losing her son was not just a dent to her heart and his family's, but also a wound among the community as a whole.

"Everybody has been contacting me and saying they just talked to him or they just saw him. He was everywhere. He would stop off at a friend's house on the way home just to say hey and check in on people," Jurn said.

Tamara says if anyone knows her son and has photos to share, please send them to her e-mail: hesstl@hotmail.com.

His funeral arrangements include a showing on Wednesday, September 18th and burial on Thursday, September 19th.

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