Tragedy occurred in the Bronx on Friday night when Leon Clark, an elderly man, was hit and killed by a private sanitation truck as he attempted to cross the street.
Rodney Jordan, a witness to the accident, told ABC7NY that the truck hit Clark and then backed over him.
“I don’t know how he [didn’t] see him,” Jordan said. “It’s an old man walking with a cane – you can’t be serious.”
The accident happened at around 8pm on E. 152nd St. and Jackson Ave. as the sanitation truck passed through the Melrose neighborhood. The driver stayed on the scene, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, his eyes staring blankly into space.
Leon Clark, who is believed to have been in his 70’s, was widely reported as a well-known and beloved figure in his neighborhood.
“Everybody loved him, that’s how it was,” one woman told ABC7NY. “He loved everybody, showed everybody love, so they showed it right back to him. He was a very respectful person.”
“That was like my uncle,” one of Clark’s neighbors told the NY Daily News. “His family was us. I helped him when he was sick, washed his clothes for him, go to the supermarket with him.” The neighbor also said that Clark had been living in the area without blood family for many years.
“It wasn’t his time to go,” the neighbor lamented. “As old as he was, he wasn’t sick. No cancer, no diabetes, no health problems. He was as healthy as some of these young people out here.”
Given the tragic and senseless nature of this incident, media attention may begin to shift to the private company which employed the driver and owned the truck involved.
A NY Daily News article reported that the sanitation truck was owned by the Sanitation Salvage Corporation, a Bronx-based company that has been in business for over 30 years.
It’s also reported that Orrett Ewen, an employee at Sanitation Salvage, recently testified to the City Council about unsafe conditions and shifts as long as 18 hours, which he claims are the norm for drivers in the garbage industry.
“My brain was so tired,” Ewen reportedly told Council members. “If you complain about being overworked, they will give your shifts to someone who won’t complain.“
“Private sanitation workers learn to shut up about safety so we can keep our jobs,” he continued. “Anyone who tells you everything is fine in the garbage industry doesn’t know what they are talking about, or is pulling the wool over your eyes. There are big problems and the city needs to do something.”
No charges have yet been made regarding the tragic death of Leon Clark. The “Right of Way Law” may apply here, which makes it a misdemeanor crime “when a driver fails to yield and kills or injures a person walking in the crosswalk with the right of way.”
Police have stated that they don’t believe Leon Clark was in a crosswalk at the time of the incident. However, they are still attempting to determine exactly how fast the driver was going when the accident occurred. The speed of the driver may impact any conclusions reached by investigators about the location where Mr. Clark was when the crash took place. Eyewitness accounts will also be crucial in this analysis. The investigation remains ongoing.
If you or someone you love have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a garbage truck, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the tumultuous aftermath. Block O’Toole & Murphy have won millions of dollars for victims of garbage truck accidents including:
- $5,000,000 settlement after a mother of four was killed when the driver of a garbage truck had a seizure, losing control of his vehicle and striking her on the sidewalk
- $3,000,000 settlement for a 78-year-old woman who suffered 11 broken ribs when she was struck by a sanitation truck as she rode her motorized scooter
- $2,100,000 settlement for a cyclist who required spinal fusion surgery after he was struck by a NYC Department of Sanitation truck
- $1,750,000 settlement after a couple were rear-ended at a red light by a NYC garbage truck