He was the first to stop the car moments after a DPW employee was hit and stuck underneath the very garbage truck he was riding on. One of the men who tried to save the life of a Thomas Welch tells Fox 59 it was just a tragic accident.
“We were just doing everything we could to save, to do what we can to make it a better situation,” he said. “Saving was not an option, so [we were trying to] just better the situation.”
The witness, who wants to remain anonymous, recalls running over to the scene on 35th and Bancroft Streets Monday morning. The driver was in shock.
“He was in a panic, like absolute panic,” he said. “Both of us were.”
Police say Welch was riding on the right back step of the truck during his Monday morning trash route. The driver told officers he checked both mirrors, didn’t see Welch, and so began backing up.
According to the police report, “Tom would jump around a lot so when he did not see Welch, he thought he was on the rear of the truck,” the driver said.
As the driver was in reverse, Welch yelled, “My knee. My knee.”
“The driver frantically ran back to the front of the car to try to pull the vehicle off of him and pulled forward, placing him a little further under the vehicle,” the witness said.
He said the driver tried backing up again to save Welch, but rolled over the 45-year-old’s arm.
“I could hear the guy’s bones breaking,” he said. “It’s too graphic to even explain. It’s horrible.”
Welch’s family still can’t come to grips about the accident. They’re hoping the city will look closer at employee safety.
“The family is very very upset,” said Ann Boynton, Welch’s aunt. “The driver should have stopped immediately. This is pure negligence.”
The witness said he may have only seen the aftermath, but the driver did everything he could.
“I gave him a pat on the back and told him it would be okay,” he said. “That was 100% his effort — trying to save this guy.”
IMPD is still investigating the case. So far, no charges have been filed.