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Landfill worker crushed to death

April 06, 2000|By DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A Hagerstown man died when he was run over by a garbage truck at the Waste Management landfill in Antrim Township Thursday morning, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

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Henry C. Wallech, 48, of 222 Norway Ave., was pronounced dead at 10:59 a.m., Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said.

Conner said an autopsy was to be performed today at the Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa.

Wallech was a helper on a truck owned by BFI Inc. of Williamsport, Md., Conner said. When the accident occurred he had been standing between a BFI truck and another owned by Waste Management as they unloaded in the dumping area of the landfill.

"For unknown reasons, he ended up under the (Waste Management) truck as the truck pulled forward," Conner said.

Wallech was run over by the rear wheels on the driver's side of the truck.

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The incident will be ruled an industrial accident unless the autopsy proves otherwise, Conner said.

Conner said the injuries to Wallech's upper torso and head would have resulted in immediate death, but he would not rule on a cause of death.

"We've got to make sure nothing happened to him medically before he got run over or fell," Conner said.

Conner said the Waste Management driver was unaware of what had happened. "He left the plant. He had no idea it happened. They notified him on the road," he said.

The driver returned to the landfill to be questioned by police.

Conner would not identify the driver of the Waste Management Truck, nor would state police. A police press release issued Thursday night did not contain the name.

Wallech's body was obscured by loose trash in the unloading area, Conner said. "The driver of the BFI truck began asking where his helper was," he said.

Police said the incident happened at 10:10 a.m. and the call to the 911 center came in at 10:24 a.m.

Waste Management Division Manager Mark E. Harlacker said the company was cooperating with state police in the investigation. He would not comment further.

BFI did not return a telephone call.

A woman answered the phone at Wallech's house but said the family would not answer any questions.

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