Garbage truck hits, kills worker in Orlando church parking lot

Last Updated: Saturday, May 03, 2014, 8:14 AM EDT
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A man is dead after police said he was hit by a city of Orlando garbage truck on which he was working early Friday in the parking lot of a church.

Orlando police arrived early Friday morning to find Brandon Bristol lying dead in front of the garbage truck at the Carter Tabernacle Christian Methodist Church, on South Cottage Hill Road at Fitzgerald Drive, west of John Young Parkway.

Police said Bristol and another sanitation worker entered the parking lot just before 5 a.m. as part of their normal routine, when things when tragically wrong.

Family, friends and relatives broke down in tears as they learned Bristol, 26, was killed at work.

"He was very loving and caring, very God-fearing," said Yolanda Kelly, a family friend who had known Bristol for years.

According to police, co-worker Reggie Virgil was driving the garbage truck, while Bristol was riding on the back. Virgil, 49, pulled into the church parking lot, and the truck picked up trash from a dumpster.

But as Virgil started to drive off, he noticed Bristol wasn't on board. When he returned to the parking lot, he discovered his co-worker lying on the ground. Police said it appeared he was run over by the truck.

"The driver is extremely shaken up," said Orlando police Sgt. Jim Young. "They do have a dangerous job, and we are going to look into that to see what occurred."

Kelly said Bristol was a musician who played the organ at church, and even performed at her aunt and cousin's funerals, all while recovering from a recent surgery.

"He played every Sunday faithfully," Kelly said. "Even through his surgery and his injuries, he still continued to come to church and play."

Police said they think Bristol's death was an accident, but they are still trying to piece together what happened. Investigators planned to meet with city leaders Friday to discuss the terrible situation.

Meanwhile, friends and family began mourning a young man who loved his job, his wife, and playing music for the people of his church.

"He's in heaven, smiling down on us," said Kelly. "He doesn't want anyone to worry."