A Queens sanitation worker and father of two young daughters died on the job in Astoria when a tractor trailer turned a corner, striking him and pinning him against the sanitation truck.
Frank Justich, 41, an 11-year veteran of Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY), had just collected trash near the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 35th Street in Astoria early Tuesday morning, January 26, when the truck struck and killed him.
“I know that the prayers of 8.4 million New Yorkers are with him and his family,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday morning, shortly after he spoke with Justich’s wife Stacy.
Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, described Justich as a likeable guy who got along great with his fellow workers.
“He was really well liked in their district,” Nespoli said. “He was in very good shape; he practiced martial arts, he used to talk sports with the guys. Unfortunately, God takes the good.”
Justich was doing his normal route with his normal driver when the incident occurred, according to Nespoli. Nespoli said the union got the call early on Tuesday morning and sent a business agent to the hospital.
Reports said the accident occurred around 7:45 a.m., and Justich was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital shortly afterwards where he was pronounced dead. The driver remained on the scene. Bloomberg said that the police were investigating the incident.
“It was a fatal accident; it was a terrible accident,” Nespoli said.
Justich becomes the 10th city sanitation worker to die on the job since 2002.
“The department mourns the loss of sanitation worker Frank Justich, who died in the line of duty this morning, serving the city that he loved so much,” said DSNY Commissioner John J. Doherty. “Our thoughts and our prayers are with his wife Stacy and their two daughters. Sanitation workers perform a dangerous and essential job helping to keep New York City safe and clean. He will be missed.”
Justich leaves behind a wife and two daughters, ages 4 and 1.