Man dies in accident at Milner Landfill

Longtime employee remembered as smart, caring, irreplaceable


— A 51-year-old Steamboat Springs man died Tuesday afternoon at the Twin Landfill in Milner after a bulldozer attachment fell on top of him.

Douglas Bell was the landfill's general manager and a 17-year employee of Twin Landfill.

Emergency personnel were called to the landfill shortly before 1 p.m. for a report of a man caught under a piece of machinery.

Les Liman, owner of Twin Landfill, said Bell was working on a D8R Caterpillar bulldozer at the time of the incident. Bell was reinstalling the "ripper assembly," which is an attachment on the back of the bulldozer that is used to loosen soil. The attachment fell on Bell, Liman said.

Routt County Sheriff's Office Investigator Mike Curzon said the incident remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.

"It appears to be totally an industrial accident," he said.

Routt County Deputy Coroner Mitch Locke said Bell died from a head injury. Locke said there are no plans for an autopsy.

Bell is survived by his wife, Leslie, and two adult children. Bell's family could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Liman said Bell was a smart man who understood every aspect of landfill construction and operations.

"We did all our own construction here, and Doug ran that," Liman said. "I'm devastated by this."

Liman said Bell's knowledge of landfill construction was unmatched.

"He had to wear a lot of different hats and he did it with grace and skill," Liman said, adding that Bell worked with a variety of people ranging from customers to engineers.

"I think the best thing was when he would call the engineers and tell them they were wrong," Liman said.

Dave Epstein, a manager at the landfill, said Bell was teaching him how to run the operation.

"It was a tragic accident," Epstein said.

Liman has operated the landfill since 1979. He said there has never been a fatality or "real serious accident."

Liman said the landfill would close on a to-be-determined day as a memorial to Bell.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

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dave reynolds 9 years, 5 months ago

God bless you were a good man and a great friend..go in peace


steamboatcrazy 9 years, 5 months ago

What a huge loss.... Doug I will miss you, there will always be a hole in my heart. I know you have no more pain and are at peace. I will remember all of the good times we have had over the past 30 years. Rest in peace brother.


mara 9 years, 5 months ago

Work won't be the same without you there; the world needs more Dougs, not less! Truly a great guy, always with a friendly word and a helpful hand, what a huge loss.


rowdey 9 years, 5 months ago

In very recent conversations Doug said often how he loved his job, loved getting up every day to go to work, loved life. He spoke of the people he loved dearly and said that he knew that the people that worked for him loved him. He spoke of Ronda and Tiny lovingly, expressed thankfulness for Dave's talent.
He said he had never felt better or as happy in his life. Among thousands of other topics he said if he was going to get hurt out there he hoped it was quick and he didn't want to suffer... he wondered if there'd be a lot of people at his funeral. He was the dearest of friends and well worth the title. There can be no replacement for Douglas Bell. He was dearly loved by many. I will never forget him.


katrinkakelly 9 years, 5 months ago

My husband works with heavy equipment each day and this tragedy has really hit home for us. We are so sorry for the family, freinds and employees of our Milner Mall. God Bless Doug Bell and all the hard working men in this valley.


TheBellFamily 9 years, 5 months ago

Doug was a very hard worker & a loving man. He loved the people that was close to him. He was very good natured & fun loving person. He was the best uncle in the whole world. He will missed greatly. God has blessd all with the pleasure of knowing Doug Bell.

We THANK YOU for taking the time to let the family know how much you care.


stevechristopher 9 years, 5 months ago

God bless all who are suffering for the loss of Doug.I got the news yesteday from a close friend of Doug's hang in there Johnny.I just wanted to send my condolences to Doug's family and friends, Doug you will be missed God bless you Brother


dave reynolds 9 years, 5 months ago

To The Bell Family I can not begin to tell how sorry I am for your loss..My life was truely better and richer by having know Doug..God Bless You..Heaven has one more good soul in it


cappel77 9 years, 5 months ago

My thoughts and condolences go out to the Bell family and anyone else Doug touched in his life.


shots_alot 9 years, 5 months ago

My prayers and condolences go out to the family and friends of Doug. This cannot be said enough.

I had just meet Doug in which I discovered that he enjoyed life, thus as he will in peace.

Truely saddening.


rowdey 9 years, 5 months ago

I asked God for comfort about Douglas's death. God said "Peace, be still. He was mine." I cried in thankfulness. I asked why so young? I heard: 'With God there is no time.' I was comforted by that perspective. I asked "but WHY?" I heard ' is appointed unto man once to die...' And I was even more grateful he didn't suffer. About a week before the accident, Doug said, as he spoke of various periods of suffering in his life, "I've had enough suffering"..."and don't want any more".
I use "Douglas" here because when I once asked him what name he liked best to be called, he said "I like Douglas, the name my mother gave me. I can't exactly go around asking people to call me Douglas...but that's the name I like."
My only regret is that I never started using Douglas in place of Doug.
I wrote here several days ago about his particular professional respect for Ronda, Tiny and Dave, the mechanic. He said he wished he could help others to not internalize 'less than ideal' events and we mused on ways to communicate that. He spoke of how he percieved Ronda to be so very professionally capable and trustworthy. He told me how much he'd learned from Les L. and of the respect he had for the man. Again, among many other topics he mentioned how he held no grudges whatsoever as he believed living in the past was not good. When he spoke of having any differences with people he said "You'll have that... Most people...just can't see what they are doing themselves so they (blame others)." He said he wasn't perfect himself and forgave everybody for everything and I could tell in the ways he spoke of all others that it was entirely true. He spoke of his daughter, Amber, several times. He ALWAYS said "She is my gem. She listened to me (and made something of herself). I love her." He did truly love all the people that were close to him and communicated that in conversation.
As we honor Douglas today may we do it with the respect and grace he had for the rest of us, he'd like that. I tell these things because I listened to his desire to "make a difference" and the way he was, did. Rest in peace my friend.


rowdey 9 years, 5 months ago

Douglas Bell spoke often of integrity being vital to him. He said "if you're not good for your word...(you have nothing)". He named his best friends as Johnny and Higbee and often spoke of the "gift" it was to have such tight friends for so long. I believe he'd be very honored to know how they have cared for him so well even after he was gone. He never spoke ill to me of anyone but just the opposite. He consistantly saw the people around him as inherently good. He had a generous heart. He is missed and is irreplaceable.


steamboatcrazy 9 years, 5 months ago

Todays service was truly an honor to see. Doug was a awesome man who loved to love and live life. He will be missed by all who knew him. We all have lost a truly great man. Rest in my brother and I will see you on the other side.


lifeisleaning 9 years, 4 months ago

What can anyone say about this man that hasn't already been said. Doug was a wonderful Friend, boss, and teacher. He thought of me as his student and loved that he could teach and loved that I wanted to learn and become better from what he taught me. Doug and I worked closely together for many years. And not a day would go by that I wasn't amazed at stuff he could do. Doug had many Friends and coworkers who truly looked up to him and loved him in so many ways. And his family are truly wonderful people. Leslie the kids. His mother and sister. My thoughts are with you all. His brother Dave is another amazing man. He had come out to the landfill to help us with equipment several times and he was a life saver to us. I look forward to still having his help in the future. My heart goes out to all of you. Doug truly loved and supported all aspects of the recycle program. He wanted to save the landfill and be able to put good product back out into the community for use rather than disposal. So much waste he would say. It's good to see people come in and get what they need at prices that they could afford. He liked the idea that for lower income people, this was a great program. Not everyone can afford new things. And the recycle was a great service to them and all others. Doug you will be missed yet thought of every day.

Your student your friend.


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