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“We all need to slow down:” Garbage truck driver, beloved pastor dies after he was hit by car

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RACINE -- The Racine Police Department is investigating a crash involving a vehicle and a City of Racine garbage truck that happened on Wednesday morning, December 14th. FOX6 News learned Wednesday evening the City of Racine sanitation worker, Mark Gates, who was also a beloved pastor, passed away as a result of the crash.

Mark Gates

Mark Gates

The collision occurred on Washington Avenue and Oregon Street. Gates was struck by a vehicle while collecting recyclables Wednesday morning.

Gates was taken via Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital -- where he later died.

Coworkers and first responders gathered at the scene Wednesday afternoon to remind drivers to slow down.

"One of my coworkers got hit out here doing his job, and my reaction is it could have been any one of us," Craig St. Amant said.

"We're out here every day trying to do the job for the community. Just slow down," a sanitation worker said.

City of Racine sanitation workers gather at scene of crash where Pastor Mark Gates struck by car

City of Racine sanitation workers gather at scene of crash where Pastor Mark Gates struck by car

Racine Mayor John Dickert's Office released this statement Wednesday evening:

"We received official word that our colleague Mark Gates died this afternoon from injuries sustained after having been struck by a speeding vehicle while collecting recyclables as part of his job.

Mark was a highly respected and dedicated employee as well as a deeply faithful and caring pastor, and he will be missed by all who knew him.

Racine Mayor John Dickert reminds us to be mindful of all city workers whose jobs take them into the streets.

We all need to slow down and be aware of those with whom we share the road."

Collision involving car, garbage truck in Racine

Collision involving car, garbage truck in Racine

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Gates should've been taking part in Bible study Wednesday evening at Christ Chapel Missionary Baptist Church near 8th and Park Avenue. Instead, many of those who knew him came to the church to mourn.

"You expect your pastor to be here and not to be taken away in some tragic accident. This is where he would have been. Felt like I needed to be here. This is where he would have wanted us to be," Brenna Freeman said.

Gates was a fixture at Christ Chapel.

City of Racine sanitation worker, pastor Mark Gates dies after he was struck by a car

"He was a father figure to my kids. For the kids at church that know him as more than just their pastor, in a way, this is God's ultimate healing. He's home," Freeman said.

City of Racine sanitation worker, pastor Mark Gates dies after he was struck by a car

Racine police investigators are interested in any additional information that anyone may have about this incident.

Any witnesses, or citizens with information, are urged to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at 262-635-7756. Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330, or text 274637 (CRIMES). Text message should begin with RACS.

Collision involving car, garbage truck in Racine

Collision involving car, garbage truck in Racine

5 comments

  • Kris H

    You want to know what happened? The car was probably doing 50-60 MPH in the right hand lane, as people race out of the Ohio/Washington intersection to merge back into one lane. S/He found that they were losing space, accelerated even more, trying to squeeze into a gap, found none, rammed the truck because they couldn’t brake fast enough.

    The City does little to no traffic enforcement. The Chief sat before the Council and stated “Traffic enforcement is not a primary concern.” So it’s engendered a society where they can speed, drive however they want, and not face punishment. I’ve seen cars go 50-60 MPH in front of officers who did nothing about it. The Chief and the Mayor are more concerned with catching ‘big’ criminals and making the news than they are actually enforcing laws.

    • Steve M

      I agree with that comment. If people understand that the basic laws do not have to be obeyed then where is the line drawn. Speeding is not a victim-less crime.

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