Nipomo man dies working on Willow Road interchange project

Correction: Because of incorrect information from the county's public works department, an earlier version of this story misstated the age of Jesse Maldonado. He was 42.

A man who was working on the Willow Road interchange project in Nipomo died on Wednesday after telling coworkers he felt ill, sheriff’s officials said Thursday.

Sheriff’s deputy coroners are investigating the death of Nipomo resident Jesse Maldonado, 41. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, sheriff’s spokesman Rob Bryn said.

No foul play was suspected and the cause of death is unknown at this time, Bryn said.

Maldonado was working for KCI Environmental, Inc., a subcontractor on the Willow Road project, he said.

He had been employed with the company since Monday to work on erosion control at the Willow Road project site, said Curt Boutwell, a partner at the San Luis Obispo-based firm. The company is subcontracting for Granite Construction.

Officials said Maldonado said he was feeling ill on Wednesday afternoon and was transported to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, where he died. The exact time of death was not immediately available.

“We’re just really sad around here and obviously our hearts go out to his wife and family,” Boutwell said. “We’ve never been through anything like this.”

Four KCI Environmental employees were on the work site Wednesday, he said.

It is unknown whether hot weather may have played a role in his death. Boutwell said plenty of water and shade was available for workers at the site.

The project is expected to be complete in December 2012 and will establish a direct link on the Nipomo Mesa from Highway 1 to Highway 101 and alleviate traffic congestion at Tefft Street.