TERRE HAUTE (AP) — A Connecticut man died and his girlfriend was seriously injured when they were compacted inside a garbage truck after spending the night in a trash bin, police said.
Police responding to a 911 call early Thursday found the body of 46-year-old Franschon Barr in the rear of the garbage truck near a Terre Haute hotel.
"When the truck driver ... got out of the truck, he heard the female yelling. He realized she was inside the truck and he called 911," Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse told an area newspaper. He said the driver likely didn't hear the woman until he exited the truck because the compacting process is so noisy.
Plasse said officers learned that Barr and the woman had taken shelter from the rain inside a trash bin and were sleeping inside it when it was emptied.
An autopsy found that Barr died from compression asphyxia, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos said.
The woman suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital for treatment. Terre Haute police hadn't released her name by Friday afternoon.
Plasse said the driver told investigators that sleeping in trash bins is more common that most people realize. "He mentioned that several times he's had people wake up and then pop up from under the lid," the chief said.
Republic Services representative Kenny Depasse said that the training given to drivers includes what to do if they find a person in a trash bin.
"That's sad to think that that's their best option to sleep in," Plasse said. "For the most part, there is someplace to go."
Lighthouse Mission chief executive Tim Fagg said the man stayed at the homeless mission on April 3, but left after 24 hours. Barr could have returned to the mission and had been encouraged to stay, Fagg said.
"I'm not sure why he was sleeping in a Dumpster," he said.
Fagg said Barr had come to Terre Haute from Connecticut. He did not know anything about the woman's background. Amos said Barr's mother told police that her son had followed his girlfriend to Indiana and they were supposed to be staying with a relative.