BARTOW, Fla. - A contract worker assigned to be the spotter for heavy equipment coming in and out of a Polk County landfill was crushed by a bulldozer while using a porta-potty, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies say a heavy equipment operator, who was also a CertiTemp contract employee, was operating a bulldozer at the landfill while Aaron Henderson,40, was assigned as a "spotter," meaning he was tasked with being on the ground, providing traffic control to incoming and outgoing dump trucks dumping trash within the landfill.
Deputies say around 5:10 p.m., the end of a regular workday, the bulldozer driver began to drive his assigned bulldozer up an embankment towards a "heavy equipment staging area" to park his bulldozer for the end of the day. While doing so, the front blade of his bulldozer was elevated 3-4 feet off the ground, and he could not see directly in front of him due to the blade obstructing his view, according to PCSO.
Deputies say the driver went up the embankment towards the staging area, and once on level ground, he began to turn his bulldozer and heard a loud crumble. As he continued forward he noticed he went over a porta-potty which he was unaware was near the staging area.
According to investigators, he immediately exited the bulldozer and ran towards the porta-potty to see if anyone was inside. At that time, investigators say he saw Henderson unresponsive inside the porta-potty.
Deputies say the foreman responded to the scene and dialed 911.
Henderson died at the scene.
"Last night’s incident was a tragic accident," said Board Chair Martha Santiago. "Our Board asks that you keep the family and friends of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers."
An autopsy will be conducted at a later date but at this time it does appear to be a tragic, industrial accident, deputies said.
"The Landfill is a dynamic, industrial environment with movement of hundreds of trucks coming to unload and heavy equipment at the Landfill all day long," said County Manager Bill Beasley. "We have never experienced anything like this here."
This is the first fatality in the history of the North Central Landfill, according to Polk County.