Feds, state investigating fatal garbage-truck accident in Meeker

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A beeper to indicate that a vehicle is backing up didn't work the morning an 18-year-old Meeker sanitary worker was killed in a garbage truck mishap.

Matt Roach was killed when a garbage truck ran over him, police said.

Police have not determined whe-ther Roach fell off the moving vehicle March 23 or stepped off while doing his rounds in Meeker picking up garbage, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Scott Simons said.

Roach was standing on the rear platform of a garbage truck that was backing up north on Fourth Street when he fell off or stepped onto the road behind the vehicle. He was run over by the truck's three axles, according to Simon's report.

Roach worked for GTM Limi-ted, which is a private garbage collection company that contracted with the city for garbage collection. Patrick Reck, 21, was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, Simons said.

"The backup alarm was not working (that day)," he said. "Neigh-bors said they heard it the day before, but we tested it after the accident and it didn't work."

Simons said there were no witnesses to the incident but it was unlikely that the patrol would press criminal charges.

He said testing indicates that drugs and alcohol were not a factor.

"It was just one of those freak accidents," Simons said. "We really can't charge (Reck) with anything. He was doing part of his normal job function. We probably have to chalk it up to an accident. "

Officials from the federal Occ-upational Safety and Health Ad--min----istration are investigating the company, Meeker Police Chief Bob Hervey said.

Neither officials from OSHA or GTM were available for comment Monday.

News of Roach's death evidently has been hard on Meeker residents, one of whom said he had lived in town for 17 years.

"This hasn't been easy for any of us," said one woman who didn't want to be identified.

Hervey said many people in town knew Roach and Reck.

The chief said he wasn't aware that the incident would cause city officials to change the contract with the garbage company.

"It's been very tragic," Hervey said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdaily-press.com

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