Bellevue man cited after hitting sanitation worker with SUV

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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - A Bellevue man was cited for careless driving Monday after he hit a sanitation worker. The incident was caught on camera by Austin Griffith.

“Here's the Durango, he's backing up, and there he hits him and pinches his leg under,” Griffith told our sister station WOWT 6 News. “Pulls right up next to it and starts blaring his horn. I mean it was immediate.”

Griffith was at a job site in Bellevue when an SUV turned on to 34th Street off of Looking Glass Drive.

Police said the man driving was upset because the garbage truck blocked the road. Griffith said his co-worker told him to start recording.

“He told me ‘pull out your phone’ because it was obvious something was going to happen,” he said. “Pretty soon. He starts rolling down the window and starts yelling at the guys.”

That's when police said Jesse Witzke got out of the garbage truck to ask the man to move. Griffith said Witske was polite about it but apparently it wasn't the answer 62-year-old Dennis Stenner wanted.

“He started going in reverse. We thought he was just going to back up. But then it put it back in drive and went forward and hit him,” Griffith said.

Video shows the SUV knocking Witzke to the ground before Stenner drove off. Witnesses saw the suspect drive around the block to his home just four houses down from the scene.

“It was definitely intentional,” said Griffith. But according to Stenner himself, “It was purely an accident.”

Stenner told police he was simply trying to maneuver his vehicle to leave the area when he struck Witzke.

“You know the guys that are doing the dirty work, making our communities clean. It's sad that they are treated this way. They deserve more respect than that,” Griffith said.

Because city streets are so narrow, Papillion Sanitation trucks are not to go in reverse for safety reasons.

Jesse Witske tells WOWT 6 News he is OK thanks to steel toe boots. He hopes this video shows the everyday dangers trash workers face.

Stenner could face more than the careless driving citation. Bellevue Police said the video has been sent to the Sarpy County Attorney's Office so they can take a look at it.