Ted Kitada: Sierra College Landscaper Recalls the Time a Runaway Dump Truck Rolled into the Quarry

July 1, 2016
Ted Kitada and the maintenance crew in 1965
Ted Kitada (second from the left) and the maintenance crew, 1965 – SIERRA COLLEGE ARCHIVE

My time was very precious in landscaping including getting things organized in the morning. I had this one student who was hired to assist me and he did that for a good year. His name was David Mayes, a retired CHP man. He would help me by going to the post office and taking trash to the dump. There was no trash service at the time so someone had to go to the quarry to dump the trash.

One day David Mayes had gone to the dump. At the dump they had these granite railroad ties laid across the edge of the quarry. The ties were there so people would not accidentally roll back into the quarry. Sometimes when a dump truck would come, the dump truck bed would not reach over to the edge far enough to dump it clean. Unfortunately that day, the ties were all blocked by trash. Since the other spots were full of trash and he couldn’t back up, he selected the end that didn’t have a block.

Apparently he backed up and had it hoisted up. The truck started rolling back and it was just too dangerous for him to jump back in and pull the brakes. The dump truck being heavy, it just got swallowed up in the trash.

When he saw me, the comment he made was, “It’s gone! It’s gone!” I said, “What’s gone?” He said, “The truck.”

I said, “You’re still here. Don’t worry about that.”

Turns out the loss of the truck was a good thing. They contracted to get the trash taken to the dump after that.

County garbage dump, 1967
County garbage dump, 1967 yearbook – SIERRA COLLEGE ARCHIVE