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Man crushed by bulldozer while inside porta-potty

Posted at 4:55 AM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 04:55:03-05

BARTOW, Fla. — A contractor assigned to be the spotter for heavy equipment coming in and out of a Polk County landfill was crushed by a bulldozer while using a porta-potty, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say a heavy equipment operator, another contract worker, was operating a bulldozer at the landfill Friday afternoon while spotter Aaron Henderson, 40, was tasked with providing traffic control.

Deputies say the driver took the bulldozer up an embankment towards a "heavy equipment staging area" to park at the end of the day. While doing so, the front blade of his bulldozer was elevated 3-4 feet off the ground, and he could not see directly in front of him due to the blade obstructing his view, according to PCSO.

Deputies say the driver began to turn his bulldozer and heard a loud crumble. As he continued forward he noticed he went over a porta-potty which he was unaware was near the staging area.

According to investigators, he immediately exited the bulldozer and ran towards the porta-potty to see if anyone was inside. At that time, investigators say he saw Henderson unresponsive inside the porta-potty.

Deputies say the foreman responded to the scene and dialed 911.

Henderson died at the scene.

"[The] incident was a tragic accident," said Board Chair Martha Santiago. "Our Board asks that you keep the family and friends of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers."

An autopsy will be conducted at a later date but at this time it does appear to be a tragic, industrial accident, deputies said.

This is the first fatality in the history of the North Central Landfill, according to Polk County.