A CITY SANITATION WORKER was killed early yesterday when his truck skidded through a guardrail on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, hurling him through the windshield and onto the street below, police said. Michael Occhino, 25, was not wearing a seat belt and was alone in the truck, whose cab was left dangling 30 feet above Furman St. near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Mayor Bloomberg rushed to console Occhino’s family following the 4 a.
m. accident. “I met with the [Occhino] family this morning and Michael’s parents were devastated,” Bloomberg said. The mayor said Occhino’s grief-stricken mother, Ruth Ann Occhino, had always worried about the on-the-job dangers confronting Occhino’s twin brother, Carmine, a city firefighter. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Occhino fell headfirst onto Furman St. and was dead on arrival at Bellevue Hospital. City crews spent the early morning hours clearing away the truck’s front axle and a section of the guardrail that also fell onto the street below the BQE. Occhino, assigned to Brooklyn South District 11, was driving west on the BQE between the Brooklyn Bridge and Atlantic Ave. when his truck skidded on a diesel fuel spill. The truck careened across three lanes, striking the guardrail and sending Occhino hurtling through the windshield, sources said. Occhino was the third city worker in two days to be killed in the line of duty. Firefighter Michael Reilly, 25, died Sunday fighting a blaze on Walton Ave. in the Bronx. Lt. Howard Carpluk, 43, succumbed yesterday to his injuries fighting that same fire. Bloomberg said all three men died “serving the city and making it a better place for all of us.
” Occhino, appointed to the Sanitation Department in May 2004, lived with his brother in Bensonhurst. Their parents had recently moved out but still live in the area, a source said. Ruth Ann Occhino was outside the brothers’ home yesterday but was too distraught to speak with reporters. Carmine Occhino is assigned to Engine 253, also located in Bensonhurst. At least 10 of his fellow firefighters stood outside the home for most of the day yesterday. “He was our grandson, a son and a brother. He was loving and caring and we will miss him terribly,” said Michael’s grandfather Michael Pizzi, 65, a retired U.
S. marshal who resides on the same block. He described his twin grandsons as being “inseparable.
” “Carmine is taking this very hard,” he said. Occhino, a graduate of New York City College of Technology, also had expressed a desire to join his brother in the Fire Department and had taken the exam twice in the past five years, Pizzi said. “It’s been a bad two days for the city, first the death of a young firefighter, then a fire officer, and then a young sanitation worker,” said Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association. Nespoli noted that in the past three years, four of the city’s Strongest have been killed in truck accidents and two have had heart attacks while on the job. [email protected]
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