Editor's note: On the Streets is a roundup of some of the accidents, mishaps and crashes from the front lines of the industry. Its purpose is not to make light of misfortune but to remind us all to remain diligent about safety.
A 40-year-old sanitation worker with the city of Peekskill, N.Y., died a week-and-a-half after falling from the back of a garbage truck.
John Fischer II suffered severe head trauma on April 13 when he fell headfirst off the truck he was working on when the vehicle "pulled forward at a stop sign," according to reports. Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster called the incident a "sad accident."
She told local media that the city and the Teamsters are working to improve safety in the department.
Fischer died April 23, after 10 days in a coma.
Worker killed by own truck
A garbage worker was struck and killed by his own truck as he worked behind it April 24 in Princeville, Ill. Harvey D. Smith, 51, working for Wigand Disposal Co., was struck just before 9 a.m. as he worked his collection route. The coroner told local media that the worker was also likely run over by the vehicle. He died on the scene. More details on the incident were not available.
A 5-month-old infant was killed when the car she was riding in was struck by a sanitation truck April 13 in Wellington, Kan. Officials say the driver of the 1999 Oldsmobile Alero failed to yield to the truck as he drove into an intersection. The car was hit on the passenger side. The car's driver and another adult passenger suffered serious injuries.
A recycling truck swerving to avoid an wreck rolled over onto a Honda Accord, sending a total of nine people to the hospital on April 16 in Wayne, N.J. Two other vehicles were involved in the incident. Although several of the motorists needed to be rescued from their vehicles, none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, said an official at the scene. No charges were immediately filed.
A 65-year-old Palm Harbor, Fla., man was killed the morning of April 18 after he was struck by a garbage truck. Officials on the scene say the man walked into the path of the turning truck. The man had been walking on the shoulder of the road, which had no marked crosswalk. No charges have been filed.
A motorist fleeing police and reaching speeds of 120 mph was killed instantly when his Oldsmobile ran a red light and smashed into the back of a garbage truck on April 19 in Flint, Mich. The driver of the garbage truck was not injured.
Two Los Angeles firefighters and a garbage truck driver were seriously hurt when the trash truck and an ambulance collided the afternoon of April 23 at an intersection in the Boyle Heights section of the city. Officials said the ambulance had its lights and sirens on when the crash took place. No other details were available.
Eight cars damaged
The driver of a garbage truck apparently fell asleep at the wheel at 4:30 a.m. April 23 and crashed his truck into a row of parked cars on Manhattan's Lower East Side. "It looked like a monster truck in a demolition derby," said a witness. "It hit car after car after car, until it couldn't go anymore. When it stopped, its wheel was resting on somebody's hood."
In all, eight cars were damaged, some beyond repair. The driver, who stayed on the scene and cooperated with police, was not hurt.
A bicyclist crashed into a city of Yuma, Ariz., garbage truck just after 5:30 a.m. April 17, suffering minor injuries to his buttocks and shoulder. Police responding to the scene ticketed him for riding his bicycle on a city sidewalk and not having a lamp on his vehicle.
Under the influence
Two sanitation workers with the National Park Service in Washington D.C. were arrested after police found them sitting in an idling truck in the middle of a busy intersection during rush hour on April 6. When police approached the truck, they noticed the odor of drugs.
When they asked the workers why they weren't moving despite having multiple green lights, one of the workers turned slowly toward the officers and said, "Man, we just chilling."
Compiled from wire and local media reports by Waste & Recycling News staff. To contribute to On the Streets, email WRN editor John Campanelli at firstname.lastname@example.org.