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.
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.
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."
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.
"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.
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.