Berkeley garbage worker dies on the job

A Berkeley sanitation worker was killed when he was apparently pinned between a garbage truck and a utility pole while on his regular route in the Berkeley Hills on Monday.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating reports that the truck rolled into 52-year-old Johnny Tolliver along Parnassus Road just after noon Monday and how that might have happened, according to city and Cal/OSHA officials.

Neighbors rushed to Tolliver’s aid after the accident and he was rushed to a hospital but died there later in the day, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said. Tolliver had been with Berkeley’s garbage pickup service, the Zero Waste Division, for 25 years.

Chakko said:

“We’re trying to do whatever we can to support the family and his coworkers in Zero Waste.”

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates issued a statement expressing his remorse at Tolliver’s death Tuesday:

“It was a terrible shock to all of us who work for the City, and I am deeply saddened by the death of one of our highly valued and esteemed employees. … I join with many others here in extending our deepest sympathies for the immeasurable grief experienced by those who knew and loved him.”

In addition to Cal/OSHA, the city is conducting its own investigation, Chakko said.