There was a very somber feeling in the city of Riverbank last week as word spread about a tragic incident involving a Gilton Solid Waste worker that occurred on Monday, Aug. 26 in the late afternoon. Deputies responded to a report of an industrial accident that occurred on the 5300 block of Homewood Way where a man identified as Ismael Martinez-Huertas was killed in an equipment-related accident on the garbage truck he was operating.
The incident is being investigated by the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
In a press release from the city staff it stated, “The Riverbank City Council and Staff would like to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Mr. Martinez-Huertas.”
During the Riverbank City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 27 Gilton business representative Mr. Gilton gave the council a very emotional statement regarding the tragic accident. He stated that in 72 years of business they had never experienced this type of incident. They had meetings with the employees of Gilton that are grieving and professionals including counselors that assisted Gilton employees on the grieving process. He added that his heart and prayers go out to the family. They are trying to figure out what caused the accident to prevent it from happening to anyone else in the future. He also gave the first responders praise for their service and support through this tragedy.
Through the request of Huerta’s wife Alcira Vega she invited the community to attend a candlelight vigil in memory of her late husband. The vigil was held on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. on the corner of Donner Trail and Homewood Way. There were several people in attendance along with Vega and their two young boys that were surrounded by the support of the community with blue hearts and candles that were lit all around. Though the family is devastated from the sudden loss they were also very appreciative of the community support at the vigil.