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April 13, 2013

Trapped inside trash bin, man dies, woman seriously hurt

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A Connecticut man who had sought shelter inside a trash bin died of suffocation after being trapped in a garbage collection truck that emptied the bin he and his girlfriend were inside.

Franschon Barr, 46, died of compression asphyxia, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos said.

An autopsy showed that at some point as Barr’s body entered the truck, he sustained a head injury that likely rendered him unconscious, Amos said. She added that Barr was probably not aware of being suffocated.

A woman also dumped inside the truck sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to an Indianapolis area hospital for treatment. Her name was not released.

Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse said police and fire crews responded just after 6 a.m. Thursday to a hotel on a report of people trapped inside the garbage truck’s cargo area.

“When the truck driver reached the [scene], to access the Dumpsters there is a gate he must open,” Plasse said, “so when he got out of the truck, he heard the female yelling. He realized she was inside the truck and he called 911.”

Emergency crews reached her through the top of the truck, Plasse said.

Police learned that Barr and the woman had taken shelter from the rain inside a trash bin, and that they were sleeping in the bin when it was emptied.

The truck had made two or three other collection stops after that before the driver heard the woman yelling.

“In talking with the driver, we found out that people sleeping in Dumpsters is more common than you’d think,” Plasse said.

He said it was sad that sleeping in the Dumpster was the couple’s best option.

Lighthouse Mission CEO Tim Fagg said that the man stayed at the homeless mission on April 3, but then voluntarily left after 24 hours.

“It’s just a shame,” Fagg said. “He was a pretty talented young man. He was trained in culinary arts.”

Details for this story were provided by The Tribune Star in Terre Haute, Ind.

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