The driver of an SUV that struck a city sanitation worker this morning in East Liberty told police she didn't see the man due to sun glare in her eyes.
Aaron Atkins, 55, of the North Side, was struck about 8 a.m. while collecting garbage near Black Street and Negley Avenue. Police said he was pinned between the hopper of the truck and the woman's SUV and was in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian this afternoon.
"He's doing better than we initially thought, but he's still not out of the woods yet," said Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski, who spent the morning at the hospital with Mr. Atkins' relatives. "He will have a long road to recovery."
Two other garbage collectors had just emptied their cans into the back of the truck when Mr. Atkins, in reflective coveralls, took his turn. He had just thrown his trash into the hopper when he was struck, Mr. Kaczorowski said.
"Usually the truck is your shield," he said. "He didn't see it coming."
Accident investigators, who have not filed charges, will return to the scene tomorrow morning, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. She said the driver of the SUV was a 36-year-old woman from Stanton Heights but did not provide her name.
Homicide detectives are also investigating. Mr. Kaczorowski urged drivers to use extra caution when passing garbage trucks.