Police: DPW worker dies after getting pinned between tree and trash truck

Thomas Welch, 45, killed

INDIANAPOLIS - A Department of Public Works employee who was killed Monday when he was pinned between a trash truck and a tree on Indianapolis east side has been identified.

The accident happened just before 10 a.m. near 35th and Bancroft streets.

The two-man crew was collecting trash when Thomas Welch, 45, who was either walking or hanging off the truck, became pinned against a tree, suffering severe injuries, police said.

"EMS workers worked vigorously on that employee, but unfortunately, they were pronounced deceased at the hospital," said Indianapolis police spokesman Mike Hewitt.

Welch worked for the city for six years, from 2004 to 2010, and rejoined DPW through the city's ex-offender re-entry program, DPW officials said.

"We are unspeakably saddened by this tragedy," said Director of Public Works Lori Miser. "Our city's Solid Waste Division is a very tight group of committed public servants, and this event has rocked our entire DPW team to its core. We ask that the city of Indianapolis keep Mr. Welch’s loved ones in their thoughts and prayers."

For the past year, DPW has put all new hires through a training program. Truck drivers get six weeks, while laborers get four weeks, meant to underscore the dangers and the hazards of the job.

Coworkers described Welch as a hard worker and a family man.

"He worked here about six years and then left, and he was such a good worker, they brought him back in December," said Steve Quick, president of the city employees union. "(He was) married with a family, in his mid-40s, a real great guy, never complained about his assignments. You know, it's just a real sad loss, and a real sad day for Indianapolis."

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