The husband of a woman beheaded at work by a former co-worker will receive survivor’s benefits under workers’ comp, following a judge’s approval.
KC Hufford’s wife, Colleen, was killed Sept. 25, 2014 while working at Vaughan Foods in Moore, OK.
An administrative law judge of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission has approved $100,000 in death benefits plus $418 a week for the rest of KC Hufford’s life. The weekly benefit would be stopped if he gets remarried.
Authorities have charged Alton Nolen, a former Vaughan worker, with first-degree murder and assault.
Another worker, Traci Johnson, was also injured when she and Colleen Hufford were attacked. Johnson suffered 17 knife wounds to her neck and face and may need shoulder surgery. Her attorney says she’s also dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.
Johnson was employed by 1st Staffing Group USA and had just been placed at Vaughan four days before the attack.
Her attorney says the temporary agency’s insurer is asking a judge to stop her temporary total disability benefits because she missed three medical appointments. The attorney says Johnson had legitimate excuses for missing all three appointments and is contesting the request to stop the payments.
Executive called ‘hero’
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel says the situation at Vaughan could have been a lot worse had it not been for the action of company COO Mark Vaughan who shot Nolen when he was allegedly attacking the workers.
“I am convinced those actions saved the lives of several other employees,” Whetsel said. “Only one word can express my feelings … Mark Vaughan became a hero.”
Vaughan is an Oklahoma County reserve sheriff’s deputy. He had training to help him in this situation.
For the average worker, here is the order of preferred action if there’s an active attacker with a weapon:
- Evacuate. Get out of the building. Employees should know more than one exit route. Call 911 once you’re safely outside and away from the shooter.
- Hide. If you can’t get out of the building, find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you. If possible, use a room in which you can lock the door. Block the door with heavy furniture. Silence your cell phone. Hide behind any large items. Remain quiet. If you can call 911 without the shooter hearing you, do so. If you can’t, dial 911 and leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what’s going on.
- Take action against the attacker. As a last resort, and only when your life is in immediate danger, attempt to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by throwing items and acting as aggressively as possible.