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Waste Pro Garbage Truck Overturns, Killing Demont’e Harris, 21, in Palm Coast’s Woodlands

| November 21, 2018

The Waste Pro garbage truck overturned in front of 1 Bay Spring Place in Palm Coast's Woodlands this morning, killing a man. (c FlaglerLive)

The Waste Pro garbage truck overturned in front of 1 Bay Spring Place in Palm Coast’s Woodlands this morning, killing a man. (c FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 8:08 p.m.

A Waste Pro garbage truck on its run through the Woodlands this morning overturned flipped on its side in front of 1, Bay Spring Place, near the intersection with Oak Trails Boulevard, trapping A man below. 

Demont’e Harris, 21, of Palm Coast, one of two Waste Pro crew members, died within moments as neighbors and the driver rushed and attempted to save him. Neighbors helped the driver, 42-year-old Marcus Thames, out of the truck by smashing out the driver’s side windshield. Thames is from Daytona Beach.

The crash took place a few minutes before 10 a.m.–the first of four calls to 911 came in at 9:51 a.m.–as the garbage truck was driving the brief north segment of Bay Springs immediately past a sharp curve before it joins with Oak Trails. It isn’t yet clear why the truck flipped on its side. A neighbor said it appeared that its right wheels may have sank into a soggy swale and precipitated the crash. 

A neighbor heard the truck crash from about a block and a half away and, as did others, ran to the scene. He said he heard Thames “screaming and crying,” as Harris was trapped below the truck. “His shoulder, his hand, was under the truck, but his head was not,” the witness said. He said Harris gasped for air a couple of times and expired.

Demont’e Harris Matanzas High Waste pro

Demont’e Harris in a recent Facebook picture.

“All the neighbors here,” he said, “they tried to dig him out, they tried to move the truck–you can’t move the truck.” A paramedic pronounced Demont’e Harris dead at 10:07 a.m.

Harris had graduated from Matanzas High School, which has grieved through the loss of several of its students or recent graduates in the last five years.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was first at the scene, followed by Flagler County Fire Rescue and Palm Coast Fire Department paramedics, as Flagler County’s Fire Flight, the emergency helicopter, launched. But within minutes, the call was cancelled as Harris was pronounced dead. Florida Highway Patrol investigators arrived shortly afterward.  The Palm Coast Fire Police diverged traffic from the area of the crash, which was roped off.

A Roger’s Towing truck arrived at the scene but was standing by, as the body would not be removed before investigators conducted preliminary analysis, and the Medical Examiner’s office released the body.  The examiner arrived at 11:54 a.m., and his office’s recovery team removed the body at 12:30 p.m.

Family members of the victim were at the scene at around 12:45 p.m., speaking with an FHP supervisor.

Five different neighbors independently said they’ve seen Waste Pro’s trucks go too fast through streets and several speculated that the truck may have taken the curve too fast. “These guys drive so fast through the neighborhood, it’s scary,” a woman said.

FHP would not conclude on a cause of the crash until the completion of its investigation. A supervisor at the scene confirmed that it was a “single-vehicle event,” and that no other vehicle had been in the vicinity of the truck, or passing it by, at the time of the crash.

The portables scales FHP used to weigh the Waste Pro truck. The truck's weight was well below the permissible 64,000 pounds. (© FlaglerLive)

The portables scales FHP used to weigh the Waste Pro truck. The truck’s weight was well below the permissible 64,000 pounds. (© FlaglerLive)

Part of the investigation, carried out at 1:30 p.m. after Roger’s Towing righted the truck on its wheels, was to weigh the truck using portable scales that can weigh up to 20,000 pounds for each axle. A supervising investigator at the scene said according to state regulations, the truck could weigh up to 64,000 pounds. The truck’s weight came in at considerably less than that, investigators found.

In one call to 911, a woman tells the dispatcher: “We have a dump truck that tilted over I think one of the drivers is underneath.” She provides the address.

“Oh my god,” another caller is heard whispering before the 911 dispatcher picks up (911 calls begin their recording as soon as the line rings at the dispatch center). “A truck just turned on one of the residential streets, his whole truck went over,” the caller continued, nervous and confused about her whereabouts.

Yet another caller provided graphic details and said the victim’s leg was “on fire,” and that the fire had been put out by neighbors. “It’s a big truck, it went right over,” she said as she noted sheriff’s deputies arriving.

waste pro

An attempt to lift the truck. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

A fire extinguisher was used to put out a fire, an investigator at the scene said, though it was unclear if the fire affected Harris’s clothes or if it was from paper products the truck was carrying that caught on fire after spilling out, and coming in contact with a hot exhaust pipe. (The fire extinguisher sat a few feet from the scene of the crash.)

There was no fuel spillage requiring any intervention by environmental or haz-mat clean-up crews: the truck was operated by natural gas.

FHP released a terse summary of the incident this evening: “A Waste Pro truck was traveling in the northbound lane on Bay Springs Place. The truck crossed into the outside shoulder and overturned on the right side of the roadway. The vehicle was at final rest on [its] right side on the east portion of Bay Springs Place where the passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Waste Pro is the contracted garbage hauler for Palm Coast and Flagler County. Today’s crash is the third serious incident involving a Waste Pro Truck in two months, but the first involving a fatality since the company has been servicing either Palm Coast or Flagler since 2007. In late September, a Waste Pro crew member was injured when his own truck ran over him in Palm Coast’s B Section. The driver had been unaware that the man had fallen off the step on the passenger side of the truck. Days earlier, a Waste Pro truck was incinerated on County Road 305.

“It’s a tragic way to start a long holiday weekend,” Sheriff Rick Staly said, “and I remind our residents and visitors to drive safely, be aware of your surroundings, and let’s do our best to have a safe holiday weekend.”

Waste Pro was contacted at 2:45 p.m., seeking comment about the crash and requesting information as to where and how Palm Coast residents could show their support to the Harris and Thames families. Waste Pro did not respond.

It is the first incident involving Waste Pro, resulting in a fatality, since the company has been servicing Palm Coast and Flagler County for over a decade. (c FlaglerLive)

It is the first incident involving Waste Pro, resulting in a fatality, since the company has been servicing Palm Coast and Flagler County for over a decade. (c FlaglerLive)

waste pro fatality

The scene this morning. (c FlaglerLive)

waste pro truck fatality

The truck after it was righted. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

waste pro fatality

Neighbors and rescuers had dug around the victim in attempts to free him. (© FlaglerLive)

The driver's side of the Waste Pro truck shortly after the truck was set back on its wheels. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The driver’s side of the Waste Pro truck shortly after the truck was set back on its wheels. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

waste pro truck

The truck, back on its wheels, was to be towed from the scene. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

waste pro weight

Weighing the truck. (© FlaglerLive)

Officials speak with relatives. (© FlaglerLive)

Officials speak with relatives of the victim. (© FlaglerLive)

Roger's Towing removed the truck. (© FlaglerLive)

Roger’s Towing removed the truck. (© FlaglerLive)

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58 Responses for “Waste Pro Garbage Truck Overturns, Killing Demont’e Harris, 21, in Palm Coast’s Woodlands”

  1. Hunter says:

    WOW, this one got me in the stomach, I lost my mom to brain cancer a day before Thanksgiving as well and by New Years Day, I lost my father, sister, grandmother and cat. No family left, so I know what it’s going to feel like for his family. We all should call up Waste Pro after Thursday and see what some of us could do or offer. Makes you question life in general and why a higher power let’s such things happen. (Just keep shaking my head). I hope he went quick, it sounded painful. What a shame.

  2. Nancy N. says:

    Such horrible news. This man’s family will be in our thoughts.

    Why does Waste Pro seem to have such a safety problem suddenly? This is the second serious accident in a very short time? I hope the city council looks into this. People shouldn’t be dying to pick up our garbage.

  3. Meg says:

    My thoughts and prayers to the family and also to the driver of the truck. What a horrible accident! May you rest in peace my friend

  4. Michael Feldbauer says:

    So sorry to hear this these guys do a great job here in the Woodlands. Our prayers go out to his family and may the peace that only God provides is felt by them in this sad time.

  5. Percy's mother says:

    The community needs to come together to offer support for the deceased man’s family as well as the driver of the truck who will most likely be suffering from PTSD the rest of his life, and which may also disrupt his ability to work in the future (from depression, guilt, grief, etc).

    FlaglerLive, would you be able to contact Waste Pro some time this week so as to post followup as well as get information on how the community can best help both families?

    Awful, awful scenario for all involved.

  6. The Truth says:

    What a sad story, this really hits you hard. These two did our neighborhood prior to the Woodlands (compared truck numbers and it’s the same one) and they’re very pleasant. Unfortunately just as many other trucks tend to drive to fast. Based on the pictures it doesn’t look like the truck went off the road but simply took the corner to fast and tipped over. RIP to the victim may his family have peace during this tragic time.

  7. Karen says:

    Yes we should see what we can do as a community to help the family

  8. Brian says:

    My girlfriend lives on this street, for a dead end street lots of traffic, and a lot of people parking their cars in road right on turn , sometimes both sides of road , very dangerous, I`m used to it, been driving road for 10 yrs now , but if your not use to seeing cars on turn you`d have to quick jerk wheel to avoid them. sometimes 3 and 4 cars in road right on turn.

  9. Frank says:

    This is a safety issue for this company to address. I spent many years driving these trucks for another company. These men have to much on their plates that’s why the speed though these neighborhoods. Something has to be done have a lot of friends in tho business. It needs to stop. May he RIP. 😞

  10. Friend says:

    Please help this family…
    This mother has already lost a son to a tragic car accident …just a couple years ago

  11. Mary Fusco says:

    How unbelievably awful and unnecessary. These trucks need to slow down instead of speeding up to stop. Houses in PC are only feet apart. These trucks should be crawling along. My heart breaks for this man’s family. If anything is set up to help them I will be more than happy to contribute.

  12. Friend says:

    I just saw you 5 Days ago…words cant even explain how i feel right now! I’m Hurt! We were just laughing about football…

  13. Bill says:

    One of two reasons: Either Waste Pro does not give them enough time to finish their round with pay or, the drivers want to finish early to go home or park until their time is done.

  14. Friend says:

    Rest In Peace damonte. You will be greatly missed. Gone too soon :’(

  15. Nana says:

    Dimonte was a kind and caring young man whose family will never be the same without him. What horrible and unnecessary death of a good hard working loving person

  16. Beth says:

    So sorry to hear about this accident .. can’t say that I’m surprised. Those garbage trucks go about 50 MPH on residential streets and constantly slam on their breaks to stop at the next house.
    I am so sorry for this families loss.. may this young man RIP🙏

  17. Cares says:

    I pray for this poor man, may he rest in peace. And the driver, his life will never be the same. It would be nice if we could do something for both these families, their hearts are broken.

  18. SA Sheehan says:

    Such a tragedy. Waste Pro and other Garbage men work long hours on a normal week, but on a holiday week, they have to make up for the day missed by working additional hours. I’m sure there was a rush to be able to complete the pickup schedule before the day ended. How sad!

  19. Friend says:

    Sad hearts too hear about this tragedy. My heart goes out to all the families involved with the crash and the loss. Prayers please let PC help out, please post ways too help.
    Love a concerning resident.

  20. Donna says:

    Your first thought is the correct answer. Drivers are expected to drive double routes exceeding DOT regulations. Then they are only paid 1/2 their pay for the hours exceeding 40 hrs per week. Its a disgrace! Lets hope that the owner will require more of his management and stop expecting men to do double the work in the same amount of time. I think it is criminal.

    God Bless the Diver in this tragedy and the family of the very young man who lost his life due to a companies neglect to care for their people. Money isn’t everything!

  21. Jim Driscoll says:

    These guys work very very hard. Our guys up here by Marineland Lenny and Cory do a terrific job. I for one am impressed with Waste Pro. Let’s see what the FHP investagation turns up before rushing to judgement .

  22. Mike says:

    Why don’t you save you criticism at a time like this.

  23. Phillip King says:

    Prayers and condolences to the deceased, family and friends. Without speculating the cause of the event, I pray we can lend to the families the support they need to grieve and fight forward.

  24. Anonymous says:

    His family is in my prayers. Such a horrible thing to happen..between the shooting and now this..when will people realize how short life is?! Slow down..the world isn’t going anywhere!

  25. Shoregal says:

    Such a terrible tragedy, but it does make my heart warm in knowing that complete strangers sprung into action and tried desperately to save this man’s life by trying to dig him out. Prayers to all

  26. Anonymous says:

    I believe he was working through labor finders, unless he actually got hired on to wastepro. But call labor finders and ask them where and how we can appropriately mourn for him. He was an awesome guy, we used to go to school and play ball together. It’s crazy how fast something so tragic can happen.

  27. Debbie says:

    RIP Sweet baby boy.

  28. paula rodrigues says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this young man. He was on our route and I’ll remember him as ALWAYS smiling…and so helpful!!!! Every time I saw him…he would wave or say hello or help bring my can up the driveway. I am sooooo saddened by this and pray for his family.

  29. Well says:

    This one affected me. That usually doesn’t happen but this young man does my route. I just saw him last week and he waved. He’s always pleasant and nice helping if needed. What a horrible tragedy. My thoughts and deepest sympathy is with his family and loved ones during this trying time.

  30. Truth says:

    You know, all you people rushing to judgement need to look at your own selves. I have NEVER seen the trucks drive that fast through my neighborhood. They always move out of the way. They always help with heavy items. On my street people always park on the road, sometimes at the curves (which is idiotic and they should be fined every time they do), and the trucks have to make sudden moves. Those trucks do not move the same as a car and can flip easier. A tragedy happened. Let the investigators do their job and stop playing armchair cop. Someone died. A family is without a child, a friend, a loved one. I’m sure Mr. Thames (regardless of what happened) will never be the same again because of this…have a flipping heart.

  31. Diane Matta says:

    Yes I agree we must help the family I believe he worked in the F section too they are always so friendly . Such a tough job!! I hate when I put a lot out I try to watch so I can give them lunch money when I have big pile.For now all involved in my prayers his family, co worker who will never get over this and neighbors that tried to help. My God comfort you all!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Lack of training, under staffed , overworked and not enough trucks to cover area. Drivers and helpers being pushed to far.

  33. Roger says:

    Single vehicle accident is typically the driver’s fault. Evidence appears to support this, and an innocent, hard working man dies. Prayers to Mr. Harris’s family.

  34. LC says:

    My husband worked for WastePro a few years ago as a driver in Palm Coast. He quit after one month. Why? They are rushed to get the work done. They are made to get all the work done no matter if it takes all day. Hurry…hurry they say. They go through orientation and learn about safety. Watch videos on dafety but in reality…they really don’t care. My Husband comlained several times before he left the company. Nothing was ever done. RIP Demonte. Prayers to his family and friends.

  35. Georgia Juneau says:

    My thoughts and prayers go to this young mans family as well as the driver. We were watching someone’s live stream at work and were grateful for those who just jumped in and tried to help. May the family and friends be guided and given courage to go through this heartbreak especially at this time of year. God bless you

  36. palmcoaster says:

    Yesterday was yard debris pick up day in Palm Harbor and C section at least! I was walking my rescue dog and the Waste Pro truck driver and jovial happy young helper were coming on my street….when we crossed as they were picking up a neighbors branches, the young helper wearing some fancy bright green sun glasses joked at holler at me “hey mom how many container you will have today 10?” I laughed and said not just like 2 and half today!.He then holler back Happy Thanksgiving to you to which I reply while they proceeded. Breaks my heart still guessing that maybe could be that same happy hard working young man that lost his life….God hope not! He was joking and laughing while happily working so hard….

  37. brian and jane says:

    Demont is with JESUS now..RIP..

  38. PalmCoaster 3 says:

    Very sad. Sorry for his family’s loss. Looks like his family will be getting a blank check from Waste Pro.

  39. Josh says:

    So sad. Both of these guys service our neighborhood and I talked to them frequently. Both really great people and always super friendly. So tragic, praying for this family and his friends.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Prayers for the family. Garbage pickup is an important job, they provide a service that everyone needs, and they are high up on the list of work-related deaths and injuries.

  41. The Truth says:

    @Truth —
    The reason people are “rushing to judgement” is because they see these trucks speeding through their neighborhood every day. It doesn’t make the workers bad people, and perhaps it is Waste Pro putting time crunches on them. Regardless, speeding is no the answer when you’re driving your personal vehicle or a vehicle that’s 50,000+ lbs. If this driver was driving at the speed limit and not trying fast, I can assure you that truck wouldn’t have tipped like that. Let’s see what the investigation says, but I am 100% confident that speed was a factor and it’s a shame because a 21 yr old man lost their life, a mother lost her son, a sister lost her brother and the world lost a young man with so much to live for.

  42. ASF says:

    I am so so sorry to read this! I recognize this young man. He always had a smile. My condolences to all his family and friends.

  43. Anonymous says:

    This such a terrible thing especially this time of year.
    That young man worked my neighborhood and he worked hard.
    However, I have to say that I knew something like this was going to happen. I wrote a letter to Waste Pro couple of months ago explaining that the diver is driving way too fast and something terrible is going to happen. I personally have gone out to end of my driveway, and stop the driver and ask him to please slow down. I can’t help but wonder if waste pro was putting time crunch on their drivers. If so… something needs to change immediately. Even though there isn’t amount of money that can be paid to bring someone back, but, Maybe when they start paying millions out to the victims family’s they will re-evaluate and re-educate safe drivers.
    My sincere condolences to the victims families.

  44. Optimist says:

    I don’t see Wastepro trucks speeding in my neighborhood, nor if I did would I choose this venue to express a debate…. I do however, see drivers carelessly careening around them without yield or hesitation. Rest In Peace young man. Decent hard working people. Every Last One of them. Tragic.

  45. Donna carvalho says:

    Im so sorry for this young mans family. I believe i talked to him right before. May he Rip. May god bless

  46. Hallie Hambrick says:

    I’ve never met this young man, but my son is best friends is DeMont’es youngest brother. My heart breaks for the Harris family! Will be there to pay my respects and hold his mother’s hand.

  47. SoVerySad says:

    So very sad for the victim and his family and friends. The poor driver will never be ok after this. Incredibly sad accident.

  48. Speak the truth says:

    Demont was a great guy and will be missed. Prayers to his family.

  49. Concerned Citizen says:

    This is a tragedy that only God knows what really happened. People have so much to say about anyone when a tragedy happens. How about a lot of prayer for his family. A lot of prayer for them driver. I pray that God gives his family Peace Comfort and a whole lot of Strength to make it thru this again.
    My Sincere Condolences to his Mom. This is is really hard for her. Pray for her and ask God to surround his Big Arms around her. Trust me. She is going to need ALL their POSITIVITY at this time.
    No NEGATIVE talk people.
    Only POSITIVE talk.
    Let’s Continue to Pray and Lift one another up.
    It’s God’s timing. Not ours.
    God Bless You All.

  50. Pat Patterson says:

    So heartbreaking. My condolences to all that knew this young man. Taken much too soon.

  51. Ciarra says:

    This wasn’t the guy with the 4 month old was it? Is there a go fund me account set up? Prayers for the family!

  52. My Beloved Relative says:

    Thank you to all for your kind remarks about Damonte. He will definitely be missed. Damonte was a energetic loving and uplifting spirit that we loved very much. His smile could be seen miles away. We are so thanksful for the 21 years God allowed Damonte to be in our lives. We will miss him and his love will continue to radiate in our hearts. Again thank you for all the prayers that was sent up and that will continue to be prayed. Damonte mother’s name is Ollie McCall and they reside at 23 Rymen Lane in Palm Coast, Florida.

  53. RobJr says:

    Did or does Waste Pro conduct safety training meetings on a regularly schedule basis?

    And on Waste Pro’s time, not on the employees’ unpaid time.

  54. Rosie nieves says:

    When my dad was the operations manager at waste pro things like this never happened they are just under horrible management and the bosses are probably rushing them to do their routes these men don’t usually get back til almost 7-9 pm get to work at 4 am we need to treat our engineers with more care and respect and my deepest condolences go to my childhood friend and her family I hope as a community everyone can come together in such a time R.I.H DAMONTE❤️ You are truly missed

  55. Anonymous says:

    This makes no sense at all.. If Mr. Thames was driving how come Damonte isn’t here? You can see in the pictures clearly that the truck overturned onto the driver’s side. The windshield was also smashed out on the driver’s side. I’m lost. But, Things happen for a reason Monte. I love you. Rest In Peace🕊

  56. tjones says:

    ” Anonymous ” That is the passenger side of the truck that is down the driver side is up in the air look at the pictures again driver is on the left side of the truck not the right side

  57. Jeannette Killingsworth says:

    Lord for such a tragedy to have happen please take care of the victim’s family and my deepest condolences to them. They are in my prayers for strength and comfort.

  58. Gina Mullen says:

    This is so tragic and so sad he was such a sweet guy and an awesome worker..every year this time i would give him a hug and an xmas card he will be missed…God needed an Angel prayers to everyone who knew him ❤

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