Trash collector side-swiped by semi, killed

STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) A garbage truck driver was killed early Thursday after police say a semi side-swiped him as he was making a trash pickup along U.S. 20.

Police and medics were called just before 7:30 a.m. Thursday to U.S. 20 just east of C.R. 800 West on a report of a fatal crash there.

According to a release from the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, John Winters, 56, of Findlay, Ohio, was driving a 2014 Freightliner semi-tractor and trailer westbound on U.S. 20 when he came up on a 2005 International garbage truck that had been stopped along the roadway.

Investigators said the garbage truck’s driver, Thomas Phelps, 52, of Angola had parked the truck along the edge of the roadway facing west to make a trash pickup.

While standing on the garbage truck’s passenger side, the Phelps was side-swiped by Winters’ semi.

Phelps was airlifted to Parkview Regional Medical Center in critical condition with internal and external injuries, but later died during surgery, the sheriff’s department said.

Winters was not injured in the crash.

Police said while the crash is still under investigation, alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

U.S. 20 was closed for some two hours while the crash was investigated.

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