SANFORD — A city employee died Monday afternoon when he was run over by the bucket truck he had been driving while he and another worker were hanging Christmas wreaths on light poles outside Springvale District Court on Main Street.

Investigators are not sure why the driver had gotten out of the truck or how it ran him over, Sanford Police Chief Thomas P. Connolly Jr. said.

“The people in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department are devastated,” Connolly said by phone Monday night.

The second municipal employee was in the bucket and was not injured, the chief said.

Connolly said his department, with assistance from the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Unit, is reconstructing the accident. The Commercial Vehicle Unit provides assistance to municipalities whenever there is a serious accident involving a commercial vehicle.

“Right now, it looks like a terrible, terrible accident,” Connolly said. “The driver of the truck somehow ended up under the truck.”

The victim wasn’t identified Monday and his name likely will be released Tuesday pending notification of his immediate family and next of kin, the chief said.

Rescue workers were called to Main Street directly in front of Springvale District Court around 1:30 p.m.  Springvale is part of Sanford.

According to a news release issued by the city late Monday afternoon, the employee was lying in the road at 447 Main Street – near the front of the courthouse – when police officers and firefighters arrived.

“When officers arrived they observed a person lying in the street with what appeared to be very serious injuries. Fire Department personnel subsequently pronounced the victim dead,” the release said. “It has been determined that the victim was an employee of the city of Sanford, and that this employee had been operating a city of Sanford vehicle immediately prior to his death.”

Sanford police closed part of Main Street in front of the court building and erected a brown canopy tent around the accident scene Monday afternoon.

The city truck with a bucket lift sat in the roadway next to the tent. The truck was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and removed from the accident site before Main Street was reopened at about 4:30 p.m.

While the circumstances of the fatal incident are not yet clear, it comes three months after a municipal worker in Portland also was struck and killed by his own truck.

Martin Dinh, 46, of South Portland was finishing his shift emptying municipal trash barrels in downtown Portland on Aug. 20 and had driven his trash truck back to the city’s parking area at about 10 a.m. Dinh got out of the city-owned truck and was then somehow killed by it. His body was discovered hours later.

And two months before that, a foreman was killed in Yarmouth when a co-worker backed over him with a street sweeper at a road construction site. Paul D. Haley, 57, of Farmington, was a veteran employee of Reed & Reed, a Woolwich-based construction firm.

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