Woman run over, killed at Pinellas Park recycling facility

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An 82-year-old woman was killed at a recycling plant in Pinellas Park after being run over by a piece of heavy machinery.

Officials believe the woman, Ida Pacheco, of Pinellas Park, walked into an area not meant for customers while dropping off recyclable materials at Recycling Services of Florida on 126th Avenue North.

That's when she was hit by a front-loader driven by an employee moving material into a truck. 

Pacheco's housemates came running to the recycling plant when police called with the news.

"She would even use her scrap money from scraping her cardboard just to help somebody," said friend Susan Brunell.

At about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, the machine operator was moving material into a truck, when he noticed the 82-year-old on the ground. He hadn't realized, until then, that he'd run her over.

"Customers are told to remain in one area to do any loading or offloading and certainly her wandering into an area where this front end loader did not expect to have anyone there could have resulted in this," said Pinellas Park Police Sgt. Michael Lynch.

Police don't expect any charges to be filed in this case. But they are working to determine what steps, if any, the plant took to make sure that customers didn't get into places they shouldn't.

"We view this as an accidental death," said Lynch. "That doesn't mean that down the road that if other violations could have occurred that would lead into something else."

Pacheco is said to have children, as well as a husband who was just admitted to a nursing home.

Her friends say she was a terrific landlord who always knew how to help.

"She would do anything for you," said Brunell. "If you needed a Band-Aid, she'd be there. She would go to certain people who didn't have much she would go out of her way to give them what she could."

Recycling Services of Florida did not want to comment, but police say employees were cooperative in the investigation.