Report: Man who died at Braves stadium got trapped in cooler installing beer tap invention

A worker who died at the Braves’ SunTrust Park reportedly got trapped in a beer cooler while installing an innovative tap system he had developed. (AP)

On Tuesday, a worker found a body in a beer cooler at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.

On Wednesday, police identified the body as belonging to 48-year-old Todd Keeling of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, a contractor doing work at the stadium and a father of four.

Medical examiners completed an autopsy on Wednesday, but have not reported anything conclusive to the public. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration told the Associated Press that it is also investigating Keeling’s death.

Family: Man died while installing his beer invention

Keeling’s aunt, Fran Kuchta, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Keeling had developed an innovative beer tap system that reduced foam and pour times from 14 to five seconds, a system he filed with the U.S. patent office.

Kuchta said that Keeling had installed the system at the home fields of the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins and was working to do the same at SunTrust Park when he died. His two sons had helped him start the installation, but left Atlanta while Keeling worked to finish the job, she said.

“This is his dream since he was a kid,” Kuchta told the Journal-Constitution. “He worked hard to do this. … I’m sure things would have gone on further.”

Keeling told the Journal-Constitution that police told the family that Keeling got trapped in the cooler and could not get out. Police told reporters that it was too early to rule out foul play.

Braves, park management respond to death

The Braves released a statement Wednesday responding to Keeling’s death.

“The Atlanta Braves are deeply saddened by the passing of Todd Keeling. We admired the passion he had for both his company and his product. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Delaware North Sportservice, which manages food and beverage service at SunTrust Park, also sent a statement to the Journal-Constitution acknowledging Keeling’s contribution to the industry. 

“He was a kind friend who dedicated his life to elevating the draft beer experience. We salute his passion and dedication to revolutionizing the beverage industry. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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