Family identifies woman killed at FedEx hub

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of the worker killed at the FedEx World Hub early Friday morning told FOX13 they are devastated. But, they refuse to let Jessica James’s death get swept under the rug.  They want answers from the multi-billion-dollar company.

Family members said the 32-year-old worked there for more than a decade. James began working at FedEx after she graduated high school, according to her sister.

RELATED: The history of work-related deaths and injuries at FedEx World Hub

It’s the only job she ever had, and she moved up in the company. They said they never thought a job their sister loved would take her life.

”They lost an employee that they are going to replace instantly, probably today. We cannot replace Jessica,” said Kimberly Briggs, James’ sister.  

Soft-spoken, humble, giving and loving; these are just a few of the qualities family members used to describe 32-year-old Jessica James.

”People say all the time she will give you the shirt off her back. She would literally give her last to help someone else,” said Tracy Mann, Jessica’s sister.

After working for FedEx for more than a decade, James died in what police said was a forklift accident early Friday morning.

”My parents are really taking it hard, because Jessica was the baby, and she took care of our parents. We have busy lives, but she made sure daily they were taken care of,” said Briggs.

James’s sisters said FedEx executives notified their parents of their sister’s death.

“The executives that came here gave very brief details that she was involved in an accident and she was by herself,” said Mann.

But, her sisters said they have heard conflicting reports from her coworkers.

“Everyone was saying she was very aware of her surroundings. She was not by herself. That they had been complaining of faulty equipment for weeks and nothing had been done,” said Mann.

They are now calling on FedEx to be transparent and improve safety for employees.  

“If you are constantly having these accidents. Safety, there is a concern and it needs to be addressed,” said Mann.”My sister died this morning, and I do not want her death to be in vain. I cannot just let this go,” said Briggs.

James’s sisters said they don’t want any other family to go through the pain they’re enduring. They ask any witnesses to come forward and share what they may have seen or heard.

FOX13 also talked to a former employee, he said it is terrible this woman lost her life, but he is not surprised this happened.              

“You have to really be on your toes and aware of your surroundings,” said a former employee. This former FedEx employee did not want to show his face on camera, but he said things can go south in the blink of an eye at the warehouse.

”You see a lot of crazy things. There’s a lot of moving parts,” said the former employee.

Memphis Police said James was operating a forklift at the Hub just before 2 a.m. Friday when she was killed.

“You’re towing thousands of pounds of cargo behind you. Sometimes you have to stop at an instant. If you have 30,000 pounds of cargo behind you, that’s not going to happen,” said the former employee. ”There’s just so much going on. There’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong. You have to be as safe as you can and protect yourself.”

FOX13 reached out to FedEx after James’s death. They released this statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our team member. Our heartfelt thoughts are with our team member’s family, their colleagues, and all those affected by this event. We are fully cooperating with the investigating authorities.”