DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A homeless man became trapped in the back of a garbage truck early Monday morning after being tossed into the vehicle along with trash from a Dallas dumpster. The incident happened just after 4:00 a.m. near the intersection of St. Paul Street and Cadiz Street in downtown Dallas.
The man was apparently sleeping in the dumpster in order to escape cold temperatures, which were in the mid-40s early Monday morning.
The garbage truck driver heard the man screaming for help before the truck had compacted the trash. He then found witness Bill Thomas and the two men started the rescue efforts. “On my way back from getting coffee, I was at the light here and the driver was banging for me, yelling for me,” Thomas told CBS 11 News while still on the scene early Monday. “He say, ‘Hey, somebody in the back.'”
“I could hear the guy hollering for help,” Thomas recalled.
Thomas and the truck driver first tried to pull the guy out themselves, but he was buried too deeply under the trash. They could only see part of his head and his arm sticking out from the garbage pile. “It had been dumped on him. It hadn’t compacted yet. He said it hadn’t compacted,” Thomas said.
“The first thing was to try and help him,” Thomas told CBS 11 News. “That was my number one thing, to try to get in and help him. And I seen that we couldn’t do nothing, so I immediately dialed 911 and was trying to comfort him and let him know that help was on the way.”
Specialized urban search and rescue teams responded to the scene with ropes and ladders. The garbage truck’s load was eventually dumped into the street to help crews get the man out safely. He was then taken to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas with at least a broken hip.