A missing teenager, who was tossed into a garbage truck after she reportedly “fell asleep” in a trash can, could have been crushed to death if not for the timely intervention of three DeKalb sanitation workers.
According to WSB-TV, the October 4 incident occurred while Zahmontay Cherry, Richard Jones, and Peter Williams were on duty. The sanitation workers had stopped at the 6700 block of Old Covington Road in Stonecrest to pick up trash cans. But they noticed one of the cans they picked up was heavier than the others.
“I dumped it and a body came out. I went to the driver and I’m like, ‘Man, there’s a dead body back there,’” Cherry recalled.
“I saw her come out – he (Cherry) didn’t really react until I reacted. I was like ‘Whoa.’ I backed up (and) I noticed there was a little girl back there,” Jones also said.
The little girl, who had disappeared for three days, could have lost her life if the sanitation workers had not seen her. “So, once they brought it to my attention I initially shut off the truck because once I stepped on the gas, it would’ve automatically crushed her,” said Williams.
The CEO of DeKalb County Sanitation, Tracy Hutchinson, said the county’s garbage trucks have been fitted with mechanical arms that raise single trash cans. So the men were unaware of the can’s contents until they were tossed into the truck, KIRO-TV reported.
Hutchinson said the men contacted police after they noticed what looked like a “waving” human arm in the truck. The men eventually rescued the teen before police and paramedics arrived.
Cherry also said “it really feels good” that they were “the ones that saved her.” “We’re just glad that the situation wasn’t too crazy. Everybody was safe and sound, and that’s the most important part of this whole situation. We’re just glad the little girl got back to her family, and everything is straight,” he told WSB-TV.
For their heroics, DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson gave the three men a certificate of appreciation on Tuesday.
“Without the attention and dedication of these employees, there is no doubt great harm, if not death, would have been imminent,” the DeKalb County Police Department said.
Today we applaud the efforts of Sanitation workers Cherry, Jones, and Williams who were able to save the life of a young lady who fell asleep in a trash container that was dumped into the garbage truck.— DeKalb County Police Department (@DeKalbCountyPD) October 25, 2022