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Man likely tried to escape garbage truck before he was crushed to death

2 years 3 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, March 29 2022 Mar 29, 2022 March 29, 2022 11:59 AM March 29, 2022 in News
Source: The Advocate
Photo: The Advocate

HAMMOND - Police believe a man who fell asleep in a dumpster likely tried to fight his way out of a trash compactor before he was ultimately crushed to death.

The Hammond Police Department said Jermaine Watts, 42, was found dead in the back of a garbage truck by a driver working along N Morrison Boulevard in January. Police believe Watts was picked up in a dumpster a few blocks from the KFC parking lot where the trash compactor was activated. 

The worker told police that he shut off the compressor after hearing a loud "thud." When he checked the back of the truck, he saw Watts' body and called 911.

Officers found Watts—his body still warm—beneath a set of hydraulic arms and wrapped in a blanket. A medical examiner later ruled Watts' cause of death a combination of blunt force trauma and compression asphyxia. 

Investigators believe the sound heard by the worker was Watts trying to jump over the compressing blade and falling into the truck's processing compartment. 

Police initially described Watts as a homeless man who climbed into the dumpster to escape the cold weather, but his family challenged that characterization. Not only did Watts have a home, he lived just about 10 minutes from the spot where he died, according to The Advocate

Watts' loved ones said they're still seeking answers. 

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