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Garbage trucks honor sanitation worker who died on the job

September 24, 2018
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In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, photo the hearse carrying Justin Pratt proceeds past sanitation trucks during the funeral procession to honor the sanitation worker in Grass Lake, Mich. (Nikos Frazier/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP)

GRASS LAKE, Mich. (AP) — Several garbage trucks participated in a funeral procession to honor a sanitation worker who was killed on the job in southern Michigan.

Modern Waste Systems, Emmons Service Inc. and Phelps Towing Inc. were among the companies that paid tribute to 27-year-old Justin Pratt on Sunday, The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported .

Pratt was struck by a vehicle while working from a Modern Waste refuse truck Sept. 18, according to the Columbia Township Police Department. Pratt was pinned between the two vehicles before he was taken to a hospital, where he later died, police said.

Pratt had worked at Modern Waste for about 90 days, said company President Phil Duckham.

“He was a good person, a good employee, good family guy,” Duckham said. “He was well-liked. We all appreciated the fact he was a veteran. He used his military training to make himself a great employee really quick.”

Pratt served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years after graduating from Tecumseh High School in 2009.

Modern Waste Systems contributed about half of the 30 vehicles that participated in the procession, Duckham said. The companies want to raise awareness of roadside hazards and encourage state lawmakers to create roadside worker safety laws, he said.

“We’ve got 85 people working right now for us at Modern Waste and we’ve been in business for 23 years,” Duckham said. “This is the first time something like this has happened to us. We want to make it the last.”

The male driver and female passenger of the vehicle that struck Pratt were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Alcohol and drugs don’t appear to be a factor in the crash, police said. The driver said sunlight hindered his vision, police said.

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Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, http://www.mlive.com/jackson

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