By Korie Wilkins
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT A cell phone became a lifeline for a Detroit man who woke up inside a garbage truck that had begun compacting its load, Oak Park, Mich., police said.
The man, 41, was scavenging for cans and bottles in the city's Dumpsters when he apparently fell asleep, Lt. Mike Pousak said. He was awakened after the Dumpster he was in was unloaded into a garbage truck at about 2 p.m. Thursday. The man, whose name was not released, used his cell phone to call 911.
Pousak said the man didn't know where he was, but that he hadn't been drinking, and he isn't homeless. The man is, however, unemployed.
When dispatchers received the man's call, they issued an alert to all road patrol officers to be on the lookout for garbage trucks in the city. A short time later, operators lost contact with the man after his cell phone's battery fell out. The man tried yelling for help but no one heard him, Pousak said.
Pousak said an officer stopped a truck, banged on its side and got a response the man banged back.
Officers asked the driver to dump the truck's load onto a driveway, and the man covered in debris was freed, suffering only a scrape on his hand, Pousak said.
Pousak credited dispatchers for taking the man's call seriously as well as officers who helped locate the truck about 15 minutes later. He would not release the name of the garbage truck company involved.
Waste Management spokesman Tom Horton whose company handles residential waste pickup in Oak Park said he was unaware of any of his company's trucks being involved in the incident.
"It's a very bizarre story," Pousak said. "This man could have been crushed, and no one would have known about it. It's really remarkable."