A near full two-year-old city refuse truck rolled over in a residential neighborhood east of Woodward Park Monday morning while making a right turn eastbound Heartland Drive to the 2000 block of Kona Drive.
Police reported that Jason Holder, a substitute driver on the route, was trapped in the cab of his 70,000-lb vehicle at about 10:15 a.m.; however, he was giving “thumbs up” hand signals to one resident who ran from his home on the corner at the sound of the crash.
Firefighters used an ax and a hammer to break out the windshield and free him from where he had fallen from his right side driver’s seat where they said he was seen holding his neck. The driver had called in his crash on the truck radio and some four other refuse trucks responded to the scene.
Witnesses said the driver appeared wobbly when taken from the truck, and seemed to be unstable on his feet as he was put on a backboard to ensure the safety of his back and neck.
Holder was transported to Doctors Hospital where he was treated and released for minor injuries, police said. He was released about three hours after the mishap. He returned to the scene as his truck was being righted by two heavy-duty tow trucks.
Garrit McGuire of Academy Mortgage said he was involved in business homework for a client’s home loan in his kitchen. He said he heard the truck and looked out his window to see it teetering from side to side on its wheels before it went onto its side on the sidewalk and part of the yard across the street.
McGuire said that he and another five neighbors ran out to check on the driver and to call 911. “It scared the heck out of me – it sounded like a bomb,” adding that car alarms also went off in the subdivision.
The neighbor said traffic consistently moves too fast in the area causing him to recently ask the city for another stop in the intersection, but it apparently fell on deaf ears since there had been no serious collisions in the neighborhood.
Another resident who had been standing in his driveway at the end of Kona Drive said he saw the garbage truck come around the corner of Heartland Drive and just go over on its side like in slow motion. Skid marks detailed the direction of the crash.
“Speed and road conditions just didn’t mix,” he said. “You could feel the ground vibrate.”
The witness did not want to give his name.
Kristie Reale said she was sitting on the couch in her living room nearly a block away when she heard the crash that sounded like a trash dumpster had been dropped off a truck. Later, as she was standing outside her home watching emergency personnel, a delivery person from a Ripon flower shop brought her a floral bouquet – it was her birthday. The delivery had to be made on foot since the Main Street floral van could not get through the scene of the rollover.
The massive refuse vehicle was dragged with the use of chains partially into the roadway by one of the tow trucks while the second one supported the move. Both heavy-duty trucks worked in unison to get the vehicle back on its wheels by early afternoon. City workers thought at first they might have to empty the truck of its load by hand if it proved to be too heavy for the tow trucks.
Police said that damage to the vehicle was relatively minor as a result of the impact.