East Peoria man dies of head injury

By Anna Yee

February 25, 2013 Updated Feb 25, 2013 at 10:47 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- Family and friends are mourning the death of Wesley Bernius, 23, of East Peoria.

According to Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll, Bernius was operating a byrstronic laser, a type of metal-cutting laser, Friday night at Hagel Metal Fabrication in East Peoria.

Ingersoll said he was injured around 9:50 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Emergency Room about an hour later.

Saturday's autopsy results show he died from a head injury.

No other details have been released.

In a statement, Dave Wrigley, President and CEO of Hagel Metal Fabrication, Inc., said "the company is terribly devastated with the loss of our employee" and adds OSHA and state officials are now handling the investigation.

Dozens of family and friends are posting condolences on Bernius's facebook page, where it states he was a member of the U.S. Army and a graduate of East Peoria High School.

The East Peoria Police Department and Coroner's Office are handling the investigation.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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