Berkeley sanitation worker dies in on-the-job accident

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BERKELEY (BCN) — 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.

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

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,” Bates said. “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.

Tolliver’s family has issued a statement:

The family of the late Johnny Tolliver Sr. is profoundly sadden and heartbroken by his loss. Johnny passed away yesterday January 11, 2016 in the afternoon. Johnny was 52 years old.

Johnny was the loving father of two sons: Johnny Tolliver Jr. and Isaac Tolliver; the brother of three sisters; and the uncle of a host of nieces and nephews. He also leaves many other family members and

friends who all mourn his loss.As an employee of the Public Works Depart – Zero Waste– he served the City of Berkeley for over 25

As an employee of the Public Works Depart – Zero Waste– he served the City of Berkeley for over 25 years. He was the quintessential employee who was dedicated to the residents of Berkeley and his co-workers, who enjoyed working with him. In his personal time Johnny was a devoted son to his mother, and adored his sons and sisters. He was an active lifelong member of his church, highly involved in his local community, and the patriarchal rock of his family. He was also widely known for his infectious smile –which warmed the hearts of anyone he came into contact with.

While we truly mourn the loss of a very virtuous and good man, we celebrate his remarkable life that was taken too soon. The funeral arrangements are unknown at this time as the investigation is still pending.

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