Indianapolis DPW identifies worker killed in truck accident

Published: .
Updated: .

An Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) employee died in an accident while working trash pickup Monday morning.

Thomas Welch, 45, was killed in the accident involving a trash truck. His family has been notified. DPW and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) confirmed his identity Monday afternoon.

"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of DPW employee Thomas Welch. I ask the residents of our city to join me in keeping Mr. Welch's loved ones, co-workers and friends in their thoughts and prayers during these difficult times," said Mayor Greg Ballard (R-Indianapolis).

The accident occurred before 10:00 am at 35th and Bancroft on the Indianapolis east side. IMPD and DPW are conducting investigations into exactly what happened.

Welch worked for the City for six years, from October 2004 to March 2010. In December 2012, he rejoined DPW through the City's Ex-Offender Re-entry Program.

"It was a simple accident and I feel sorry for the family," said Eric, a witness who asked that we not use his last name. He agreed to talk to us about what he saw Monday morning. "I seen the trash truck backing up, and all of sudden it kind of like dipped into a chuck hole, the truck jumped and he fell back."

Welch was working as part of a two-man crew on the truck.

Neighbors started calling each other about deadly accident. James Arnold rushed home when he found out what happened.

"Normally it's just one person. Whenever I have seen them it's just one, but I guess they decided to add an extra man," he said.

As part of standard operating procedures, the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team processed the scene. They also ordered a standard blood draw on the DPW driver, although investigators don't think alcohol played a factor.

"Our employees go through extensive training when it comes to their job safety," said DPW spokesperson Stephanie Sample.

After the crash, Curtis Vance and his DPW crew picked up the rest of the route before ending their shift. Vance had just talked with the victim.

"It's a loss, man. The dude died. He had a family, you know what I mean? He was a nice guy. I am going to miss him. I cut up with him every morning before he go out to work. He was one of them guys that come to work and work hard," said Vance.

Now after this tragic death, Vance is taking note. "You never know. You got to take this job serious. That's everything."