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Motorcycle Hits and Kills Garbage Man

A 40-year-old employee of E.J. Harrison & Sons trash-hauling company was struck by a motorcycle and killed Thursday as he walked across a Santa Paula street to pick up some nearby trash cans, authorities said.

Federico Vargas of Ventura was pronounced dead of severe traumatic injuries at Santa Paula Memorial Hospital at 2:44 p.m., said a hospital emergency room nurse.

The driver of the motorcycle, John Duncan, 26, of Ventura was not injured. A passenger on the motorcycle was also uninjured, the California Highway Patrol said. Both were wearing helmets.

The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m., when Vargas was working on Foothill Road, east of Cummings Road, said Jim Wingate, Ventura County chief deputy coroner’s investigator.

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“He walked out from the trash truck into the opposite traffic lane and was hit by the motorcycle as he went to pick up some garbage cans,” the CHP said.

Vargas was thrown approximately 100 feet by the impact, and his body landed in a nearby lemon orchard, the CHP said.

Vargas’ brother-in-law, Antonio Luna, 38, said late Thursday that Vargas had been employed by Harrison for less than six weeks. He said Vargas was working with his cousin when he was struck.

“The motorcycle was coming real fast and probably they didn’t see him,” Luna said. Grief-stricken family members had gathered at Vargas’ home Thursday evening.

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“Why did it happen? That’s what everybody’s asking,” Luna said.

An employee of the Harrison company expressed sorrow Thursday evening.

“We’re just really sad, I don’t know what to say,” said recycling coordinator Tom Chiarodit. “Even though I didn’t know the guy, I’m very sad about this.”

Vargas is survived by his wife Rebecca, 47, a 16-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, Luna said.

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