Police report sheds light on crash that killed DPW worker

The driver of a DPW truck told officers he checked both mirrors but did not see his coworker when he reversed. That action led to the death of Thomas Welch, 35.

The accident happened at 35th near Bancroft street Monday.

According to the police report, Welch was riding on the back step on the right side of the truck. The police report stated the driver said, “Tom would jump around a lot so when he did not see him he thought he was on the rear of the truck.”

It continued, “As Mr. (redacted) was backing he heard Tom yell ‘My knee, my knee’. Mr. (redacted) stated he stopped and (saw) him at the side of the (truck) so he ran around, the truck was on top of him so he backed up”.

City-County Councilman William Oliver, D-District 10, said he is thinking about Welch’s family, during a difficult time.

“Mr. Welch, I understand, was a very outstanding employee. And, most of the drivers -I’ve been looking into this -most of the drivers wanted Mr. Welch to be on the back of their truck,” Oliver said.

Oliver plans to speak with witnesses and drivers to find out what happened to try to prevent it from happening again.

“At this point, I understand it was an accident, but that’s what the FACT team will look into and see how the accident occurred and if corrections in training need to be done,” Oliver said.

IMPD officers are investigating and DPW is conducting its own internal investigation. No one has been charged. DPW said their drivers and laborers undergo safety and equipment training.

Fox 59 obtained a copy of a 911 call made shortly after the crash happened. In part the caller said:

Caller: “Oh my God”.
Dispatch: “Okay, what’s going on there?”
Caller: “There’s a guy under a garbage truck right now.”
Dispatch: “Okay, so a gentleman was hit by a garbage truck?”
Caller: “No, he’s under it. The garbage worker, he’s under the truck right now, under the tire.”

Welch’s family revisited the area where the crash happened Tuesday. Welch’s aunt said her nephew was like a son. She said what happened does not make sense.

“This is a great loss to the family. It really is a great (loss). It should have never happened,” Welch’s aunt said.

According to the coroner’s office, the autopsy results could be released Wednesday.

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