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.

17 comments

  • Collens

    Something sounds fishy…I hope that the investigation is a thorough one…I pray for the family of the one lost & I pray for the driver if no wrong doing was done…I'm sure it will be a terrible thing to wake up everyday knowing you took a life.

    • jjj

      I don't get it either, how does he go from yelling "my knee" to dead? If the truck only ran over his knee he should have lived I would think.

    • jjj

      If I was doing that job, I would expect the same thing to happen if I fell off the back of the truck.

  • RodgerRobot

    If Mr. (redacted) thought he was at the back of the truck why did he back up???
    As far as Investigation "City-County Councilman William Oliver, D-District 10" seems to be doing that.
    Prayers to he family of Thomas Welch.

  • kimberly

    It was clear it was an accident. We shld feel bad for eeveryone involved. Accidents do happen.

  • StarlettMiller

    Alcoholics and chronically addicted drugs uses have a much greater risk of getting hurt or killed on the job.

  • Toya

    yea addidents do happen an thats what it was a accdident when god is ready to call u home theres nothin u can do about it my prayers goes out to his family but they might need to make sure he wasnt on anything an people really need to no the facts before speakin out about something like this cause trust me the driver is hurt too an that was his friend he worked with that man every day an he was a good man the driver said

  • fred

    you know it is very easy to speak on something you have no know-how or thoughts of. You can never understand what it takes to do this job or the stress they go through to do what we of this city think they should do to pick up our trash in a timely manner . No it should not had happen , but what accident should have, he did not see him and thought it was clear to back up as I''m sure they have done many times before

  • david wilson

    The driver didnt see him so he backs up. WRONG! Every CDL Driver knows. G.O.A.L. If your not sure, Get Out And Look. He had to be distracted the driver I mean. Doesnt make sense.

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