garbage business is dangerous

Posted on by mcooper

Editor’s note: On the Streets is a roundup of mishaps, crashes and other news from the frontlines of the industry. Its purpose is not to make light of misfortune, but to remind us all to remain diligent about safety.

A driver for Waste Management Inc. was killed early New Year’s Eve after getting crushed by the truck he was driving in San Antonio, Texas.

Police say the driver, 33-year-old Richard Pezina, was trying to change lanes on the Northwest Loop 410 at about 5:40 a.m. when he over-corrected the vehicle and started fish-tailing. The truck then plunged down an embankment. Pezina was ejected from the truck, which then rolled onto him. No other vehicles were involved.

Pezina, who was pronounced dead at the scene, is survived by his wife and two young sons.

Woman killed in NYC

A 58-year-old woman walking her bike along the curb in New York City was struck and killed by a garbage truck just after noon on Jan. 4. The woman was headed east on East 23rd Street in Manhattan when a Citywide Demolition trash truck pulled into traffic in the same direction, clipped the woman and her bike and then rolled over her. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck was not cited.

Motorist pins worker

A trash worker in Dunkirk, Wis., was hospitalized in critical condition Jan. 5 after he was struck by a car while emptying trash bins into the back of the truck at around 10 a.m. The 36-year-old worker was pinned between the vehicles for 45 minutes as rescuers worked to free him. The 21-year-old driver of the Chevy Malibu that struck him was not wearing a seat belt and was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Officials say “obstructed visibility” was a factor in the accident.

Worker falls off truck

A 20-year-old sanitation worker in Dale County, Ala., was hospitalized in critical condition after falling off the back of a garbage truck during the late morning of Jan. 10. A county official said the worker slipped off the back of the truck and was dragged several feet, suffering serious leg injuries. A few days after the accident, the worker’s condition had stabilized and improved, according to family members.


A garbage worker in Birmingham, Ala., suffered only minor injuries when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver as he crossed the street while working a route just after 7 a.m. The driver was operating a burgundy Chevy Tahoe and drove away after hitting the worker. Birmingham police are asking for help from the community to find the driver.

Head-on fatal crash

A motorist was killed just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 16 when his car collided head-on with a garbage truck in St. James, N.Y. The driver of the car died on the scene. The driver of the truck was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Long Island fatal

An off-duty police officer on Long Island was killed Jan. 11 when his SUV crashed into a garbage truck in Comack, N.Y. Officials say the truck was backing up into the road when the collision occurred around 3:30 a.m. The 40-year-old police officer was pronounced dead at the scene. Police cited the garbage truck driver for “unsafe backing” and an equipment violation.

Pedestrian killed

A 62-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed by a garbage truck in Cedar, British Columbia, just before 10 a.m. on Jan. 9. Further details were not available.

Truck vs. tree

The driver of a garbage truck in Breezy Point, Minn., was seriously injured New Year’s Eve after his vehicle went off the road and crashed into a tree, ejecting the driver. The crash occurred at around 7:30 a.m. The driver was airlifted to a local hospital but later released. Officials say that “driver inattention” was likely a factor in the crash.

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