A man in Albany, Oregon, who thought a place for recycling cardboard looked like a comfortable place to crash was lucky to escape with his life after he was collected for recycling and compacted several times in a garbage truck.
The man, 23-year-old Ivan Rosalio Mendez Perez, settled down in the cardboard for a slumber and was lifted in the dumpster and dumped into a truck which compacts the material from the dumpster.
The cardboard and the man were compacted several times, and the driver was unaware of the commotion within the truck as he went about his job as normal.
Julie Jackson, municipal manager from Republic Services, the company which compacted the man from the dumpster, said, “This a front load truck. The driver doesn’t even get out. They’ll pull up, connect the bars on the front of truck to the grooves on the side of the dumpster, and it goes straight up. It doesn’t tip until it’s above their heads at the back of truck.”
By the time the driver realized what was going on, Perez had already suffered a fractured leg in the compacting.
Captain Eric Carter of the Albany Police Department said, “The driver became aware of it at Big 5 Sporting Goods because the subject was throwing cardboard out of the truck. He got out to look and heard Mr. Perez yelling, so he contacted us. Albany Fire also responded to remove Mr. Perez from the truck.”
Unfortunately, it is not unusual to find people sleeping in or trying to collect rubbish in dumpsters. Many times the drivers will pull up to collect the materials in the dumpsters, and people will jump out at the last minute, according to the Albany-Democrat Herald.
Republic Services has about 50 drivers who clean out about 100 dumpsters per day. Jackson said she has heard about drivers who have connected the truck arms to a dumpster and suddenly a person would jump out of the dumpster and run away at the very last second.
People have died because they have stayed too long in a dumpster and were crushed to death when they met their tragic ends with a compactor. The body of Gordon Gene Lemke, a 50-year-old transient, was found among cardboard at an Allied Waste sorting station in 2011. He had apparently fallen asleep in a dumpster and was crushed to death in a truck. The driver would have had no knowledge that the man was in the dumpster.
Carter cautioned, “Do not play in (dumpsters), do not go into them, do not seek shelter in them, do not sleep in them. Those drivers don’t know.”
Jackson said her company often does public outreach to teach people about the dangers of messing around inside dumpsters. Children are sometimes curious and want to play in dumpsters, and adults may seek shelter or “dumpster dive” in the dumpsters. Representatives from the company talk to kids at schools, and they hand out fliers at homeless shelters to let people know to stay away from any kind of dumpster.
Perez is listed in “good condition” at a nearby hospital in Albany, according to the Mirror. The police believe Perez is lucky to be alive after his ordeal with the compactor in the dumpster rubbish collector. In fact, it is surprising that he came out in such good condition after being compacted several times.
The only way to fix the situation, according to Jackson, is for every dumpster to be empty of people. No person should be inside a dumpster, ever.
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