A New York City sanitation worker died while on duty in Queens last week after being struck by a milk delivery truck. Forty-one-year-old Frank Justich, who worked for the city’s sanitation department for 11 years, had been removing trash from a street corner in Queens when a tractor-trailer rounded the corner too widely and pinned Justich against his own truck.
Paramedics arrived at the scene within seconds and rushed Justich to Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 a.m. Justich leaves behind his wife and two daughters, a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old.
Justich, who resided with his family in Flushing, Queens, was a member of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association. He was the seventh worker killed on duty since 2003.
According to the New York Daily News, hundreds of Justich’s fellow union members, neighbors, friends, and family turned out at St. Luke’s Church in Whitestone, Queens to pay their respects. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the eulogy, recalling aspects of Justich’s life and personality that had endeared him to his community – his “trademark ponytail,” his artistic skills, his vibrant personality and love and respect for children and animals.
“He was so generous he’d end up giving the painting without taking the money,” Justich’s wife told the Daily News. “He’s probably the only sanitation worker that got Christmas gifts from every block.”
Others shared warm memories of Justich with the Daily News. “If you walked your dog around here, you knew Frankie,” one of his neighbors told the paper. “He was the nicest person. He even had respect for little puppies to take his dirty glove off to feed my dogs cookies,” she said.
Justich “thought of all New Yorkers as his extended family,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
New York City retired Justich’s badge number, 11444, in his honor. Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty also told the crowds at Justich’s service that Queens West 1 Garage, where Justich worked, will be named after him.
An online memorial has been established to honor Justich’s life. Donations can be made to help with the daughters he leaves behind.
The driver of the delivery truck that struck Justich remained on the scene and was not charged.