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ME rules in Southwest Research Institute worker death

ME: Dwight Freeman, 56, struck by pressurized equipment during maintenance

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office has determined what caused Wednesday's deadly accident at the Southwest Research Institute.

The ME has ruled the cause of death for 56-year-old Dwight Freeman as blunt-force injuries of the chest.

Southwest Research Institute officials have said that Freeman was working in a laboratory in the Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division.

He was photographing fuel spray patterns in an optical combustion chamber.

A statement from Southwest Research Institute says, "As best we can determine at this time, for unknown reasons the chamber was not depressurized before it was opened for maintenance to clean the optical window. When the bolts securing the optical window to the chamber were released, the internal pressure propelled the optical window assembly into Mr. Freeman, fatally injuring him."

The medical examiner ruled this death an accident.