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Man killed by reversing garbage truck on Cornelia Street

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A pedestrian — possibly a homeless man — was struck and killed by a reversing garbage truck in Greenwich Village early Thursday morning.

Police said that around 5:20 a.m., a private sanitation truck reversed onto Cornelia Street from the W. Fourth Street intersection and was then heading southbound on Cornelia Street — which runs one-way, northbound — when it hit a man in the middle of the street about 130 feet from W. Fourth Street.

The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene by E.M.S. medics. He was in his 30s, but police are currently not releasing any other information about him.

The driver remained at the scene and was not charged. The investigation is ongoing.

A police spokesperson said detectives are currently working on locating and notifying the victim’s family, which is standard department protocol before police publicly release the person’s name to the media. The spokesperson said she did not have information on whether the man was homeless.

The 6th Precinct also did not immediately confirm if the victim was a homeless person.

The man was apparently struck in front of 11 Cornelia St. (Google Street View)

The vehicle was a 2020 model Crane Carrier dump truck. Police did not provide the carting company’s name.

A worker at Papaya Dog, the 24-hour hot dog joint on the corner of Cornelia, W. Fourth and Sixth Avenue, said he had not been working at the time of the incident and did not know anything about the victim or whether he was homeless.

“I wasn’t here. The overnight shift finishes at 6 a.m.,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of homeless in the area.”

A local activist said a Cornelia Street neighbor texted him that she had come out at 7 a.m. and saw a person lying dead on the street beside a parked garbage truck outside 11 Cornelia St.; police were on the scene and the street was closed.

Another neighbor said she had heard somebody yelling outside “all night.”

According to the source, garbage trucks often reverse onto Cornelia Street from W. Fourth Street “since they can’t make the turn.”

Another local said that a homeless couple have been living “in the stairwell where the underground record store used to be since the scaffolding went up,” and that there had been drug abuse and a lot of screaming and fighting.

“I suspect that it may have been one of this couple since it was so early and with the fighting,” she said. “I could be wrong though. Sad situation.”


  1. Choresh Wald Choresh Wald May 18, 2024

    That’s common practice in NYC: drivers are not charged unless they leave the scene of the crash or drive under the influence. Otherwise they can kill anyone, they walk free and keep their driving privileges.

  2. Carmine Strada Carmine Strada May 17, 2024

    Those private sanitation trucks race through the streets, run lights, turn corners speeding and drive like mad in the early morning hours. They’ll fly down 8th street from 6th ave (notorious speeding block) where a woman was killed a couple of years ago by a private sanitation truck, blow through the red light on 5th Ave and blast to Broadway or drive the wrong way northbound on 7th Avenue swinging into the side streets. I see it every morning during my 5 a.m. run. A special patrol should be out there.

  3. Anne Marie Anne Marie May 17, 2024

    Drivers of private sanitation trucks often drive like maniacs, counting on it being late and no one being around. I often take my dog out very late at night and they are backing up at top speed.

  4. Peter Nigrini Peter Nigrini May 17, 2024

    I am confused by attention given to if the victim was homeless or not. More space was dedicated to this question than the identity of the driver who killed him, the safety record of the hauling company that employs him, or the exact circumstances that led to a truck driving backwards down a residential street.

    Would the tragedy of his death be reduced if he were also unhoused? Would the likelihood of this happening have been reduced if he lived in a townhouse around the corner?

    • J Lee Seigel J Lee Seigel May 17, 2024

      Completely agree. As if being homeless mitigates the horror — driving the wrong way on a narrow one-way street. Why wasn’t truck driver charged?

      • Jay Crockett Jay Crockett May 18, 2024

        Thank you. I actually had to re-read that part of the article twice . . . . the driver wasn’t charged?????????? He killed someone, knowingly breaking the law and wasn’t charged?????

  5. Choresh Wald Choresh Wald May 17, 2024

    “Reverse into” means driving wrong way on a one way street. Which is illegal.
    The picture shows 6 police vehicles, one of them parked on the sidewalk, completely blocking the sidewalk needlessly.

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