Update: Body Found in Billings Garbage Truck Was Likely Transient in Dumpster
Police in Billings believe a 50-year-old man who was found crushed to death in a garbage truck was a transient who had been in a dumpster before it was emptied. Investigators are still awaiting toxicology tests on James Joseph Brown, who died on Feb. 18. Public Works Director Dave Mumford says the department is evaluating the incident to see if more can be done to prevent similar situations. Mumford says it's not unusual for garbage truck drivers to encounter people in dumpsters and one to two people a year end up getting dumped into a garbage truck. The Billings Gazette reports that Mumford says about eight people may be found every year sleeping in dumpsters or searching for food; cameras were installed years ago to monitor dumpster activity, but unfortunately, the cameras can't see everything.
According to the Billings Gazette, Yellowstone County Coroner Cliff Mahoney said that Brown died of asphyxia and crush injuries. The death has been ruled accidental. The driver of the garbage truck that found Brown was offered paid time off and counseling, and has since returned to work.
The Billings Gazette published a full story that can be accessed here.