Homeless man dead following incident involving a garbage truck in Victoria

Homeless man dead following incident involving a garbage truck in Victoria

WATCH: Victoria Police, and the B.C. Coroner’s Service are both investigating the death of a homeless man this morning. While the man slept inside a dumpster, a garbage truck picked it up. By the time the driver realized what was happening, the man had already suffered fatal injuries. Mary Griffin reports. 

Construction worker Al Riopel looks at the photos on his phone that he took as he arrived at work at approximately six a.m. this morning.

“The first police vehicle arrive on scene,” Riopel said.  “And then quickly followed by two more police vehicles. Then the fire department, and then the ambulances.

He watched as emergency personnel lifted a man out of the box of this garbage truck, and down a ladder.

“He was taken away by ambulance. They were trying to resuscitate him, but it didn’t look like it was successful,” Riopel said.

Victoria Police say they were called to the 1300-block of Vancouver Street at 6 a.m. and found a man with life-threatening injuries.

The truck is owned and operated by Waste Connections of Canada.

The driver was on his morning route picking up, and emptying dumpsters.

He had just finished with the bins behind the Conservatory of Music, and heard something when he stopped in the lot at the 1300 block of Vancouver.

Witnesses say the driver jumped out of the cab, and ran to the back of his truck.

Steve Sorensen, with the B.C. Coroner’s Service, said the middle-aged man died on route to hospital.

“We’ve had a male appears to have been picked up in a dumpster, and then suffered fatal injuries inside the garbage truck,” Sorensen said.

According to Grant McKenzie, director of community at Our Place Society, said many of the regulars are trying to determine the identity of the deceased man.

“It’s heartbreaking to have somebody end up dying from that.”

McKenzie said there were 12 available shelter beds at the shelter operated by Our Place on Tuesday night.

“There can be a lot of shame, and embarrassment from being in a situation where you are homeless,” McKenzie said. “So, a lot of people do isolate. Especially men. That seems to be their go-to.”

In this neighbourhood, Riopel said it’s not uncommon for the homeless to sleep where ever they can.

“One of the foremen found on our work site on Sunday, hiding, and sleeping. So, yes. It’s quite prevalent down here,” Riopel said.

The driver, and the emergency personnel at the scene, are all receiving support as Victoria Police, and the BC Coroner’s Service investigate.

Victoria Police spokesperson Bowen Osoko said they are working with the B.C. Coroner’s Service to determine what happened.

“We’re really trying to determine how someone came to be in the back of that truck, um, this morning,” Osoko said.

The City of Victoria does not require businesses to lock or secure their bins.

Police are not releasing the man’s name until his next of kin is notified.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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