Police are investigating an accident with a garbage truck that killed a city employee. It happened just before 10 a.m. near 35th and Bancroft on the near northeast side. DPW identified the victim as 45-year-old Thomas Welch.
The accident has left Welch’s family trying to figure out what happened.
“It’s tragic. It’s a tragedy,” said Tanji Welch, Thomas’ sister. “We just want some answers, you know?”
Tanji was still trying to grasp the death of her brother hours after he was hit and killed while on his Monday morning trash route. Fox 59 spoke with the family when they arrived on scene.
Together, family members knocked on neighbors’ doors and tried to reconstruct what caused the very truck Welch was riding on to kill him. Witnesses tell Fox 59 it appeared the truck backed into Welch.
“They put these people out here and they don’t really care,” said a relative. “Just as long as the job gets done.”
“The people that I know who he picks up trash for, they love having him pick up their trash,” said Tanji. “He’s not sloppy with it. He works fast and is safe.”
The Department of Public Works says all their workers undergo safety and equipment training. At this point, they don’t believe the driver was out of line.
“We don’t have any reason to believe that anything like that happened but we are investigating internally and working with IMPD,” said Stephanie Sample, a DPW spokesperson.
Welch worked for the city for six years from October 2004 to March 2010. Welch rejoined the department through the Ex-Offender Re-entry Program in December 2012.
The driver was taken to the hospital for a blood draw, due to city protocol. Police said they did not believe alcohol had anything to do with the accident.
“We’re just trying to understand it,” said Tanji. “Whoever the witness is, we could love for the witness to come forward so we can get a peace of mind.”