Shelby Wing, a U.S. Postal Service mail handler in Miami, Florida drowned in a storm drain while attempting to grab his cellphone, according to reports. The incident has been classified as an accident by Miami-Dade homicide detectives, a full report will not be made public.
“It’s one of those unforeseen freak accidents,” said Javier Baez, a Miami-Dade County police detective.
Public information suggests that Wing had just finished up his shift along with 400 other workers at around 12 a.m. on Tuesday when he headed outside of the Miami Processing and Distribution Center, located at 2200 NW 72nd Avenue in Miami. It appears that he wanted to make a phone call in the parking lot. Although there were no witnesses to the incident, detectives believe that Wing had dropped his phone into a drain and removed the grate in an attempt to recover it. He then somehow lost his balance and fell head-first into the drain, where unfortunately he drowned.
The grate was found lifted from the drain and no indications of a murder were present. Wing may have hit his head when he fell, losing consciousness and subsequently drowning.
A coworker discovered Wing’s body around 40 minutes after the accident. The coworker found his body in a ditch behind the processing center, which was full of water from the recent stormy weather. In fact, weather reports indicate that it was raining heavily in Miami at the time of the accident. Someone called paramedics, but they were too late – Wing was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Shelby was very well-liked and respected by his postal family. [He] always had a smile and kind words for every person. He will be missed,” Debbie Fetterly, U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman for the South Florida District, told the press. “You could not find a nicer man. He was a gentleman and loved to help people. He had a big smile for everybody.”
Wing was approaching retirement. He had just turned 70 years old and had worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 25 years. According to his family, he and his wife were planning on making a trip to Georgia in the near future to scope out a possible place to retire. He had been a Miami resident for his entire life, where he and his wife had run Chang’s Palace, a Chinese restaurant located at 4303 NW Seventh Street, for nearly 30 years.
Wing had just celebrated his 70th birthday with his family. “We made some Korean barbecue and had a vanilla cake that read ‘Happy Birthday Grandpa,’ ” said Wing’s grandson, 26-year-old Ricky Munne. “He had a wonderful time. He loved being around family. His number one thing was to take care of family. Family is everything to us.”
His widow, Kang Chang Wing, reflected the same sentiments, telling reporters that Wing was the love of her life. “He was a lovable person, he was always a happy person,” she told the press. “We were never separated. We were like two kids. We were always together.”