A Honea Path city employee was backing a sanitation truck down Pitts Street on Thursday morning as two workers, one on each side of the street, walked alongside him picking up trash and tossing it into the truck.
“According to the operator of the truck, he was scanning both side view mirrors, keeping an eye on his coworkers,” Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said.
He was keeping an eye on the passenger side crew member when he heard a scream. He looked through the left side mirror but couldn’t see Richard Smith, who had been collecting garbage on the driver side. Smith’s pelvis had been pinned beneath the truck’s rear wheels, Shore said.
Smith died from his injury at Greenville Hospital, where he had been taken by ambulance — the weather wouldn’t allow for him to be airlifted — shortly after 7 a.m.
“We don’t know if he slipped and fell or if the truck knocked him over,” Shore said. “But we do know the truck came to rest on top of him and crushed his pelvis.”
South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the state Highway Patrol and Shore’s office are investigating the case.
“There was some rumor going on that Richard may have been bullied at work by coworkers,” Shore said. “So we’re looking into that, we’re trying to see if there was anything like that going on in the workplace, if it’s even tied to this.”
Honea Path Mayor Earl Lollis Meyers did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday.
He added that he has spoken to several people who knew Smith personally and will speak to coworkers soon, although he declined to comment on that aspect of the investigation until it is complete. Shore added that he has assistance from the Highway Patrol’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team.