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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A sanitation worker for the city of Winston-Salem was struck by an SUV Wednesday morning.

The worker, identified as 59-year-old Alexander Bell, of Winston-Salem, was struck on Darwick Road about 10:30 a.m. He is in stable but serious condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Police say that the driver of the SUV, Carol Black Snyder, also of Winston-Salem, told them she saw the garbage truck, but did not see Bell in time to stop.

“The sound of the hit; the impact — the impact was so hard,” said Robert Mintz, who was driving the garbage truck at the time of the accident. “By the time I got up to him the blood was coming out of his head.”

Winston-Salem city officials say Bell is the third city employee to be struck by a vehicle while on the job since the beginning of 2013. The other two workers were both police officers.

Three other Triad cities, Burlington, Greensboro and High Point, each reported zero serious accidents involving sanitation workers on roadways within at least the last six years. However, they all agreed that working on a garbage truck is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

“Their job involves intermingling with motor vehicles and they’re pedestrians. It’s kind of a losing battle if the two make contact with one another,” said Captain Jeff Watson, of the Winston-Salem Police Special Operations Division.

To lower the risk, many cities have started using garbage trucks with mechanical arms to pick up the trash. However, things like back yard trash pickups require some crews to do it the old-fashioned way, and many of those crews get put on regular routes.

Syder has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing.

Bell’s 60th birthday is a week from tomorrow, on Nov. 27.