Death investigation underway after worker killed at Montgomery County trash transfer station

DERWOOD, Md. (FOX 5 DC) -- A deadly accident that killed a contract worker at a Maryland trash sorting facility remains under investigation Friday.

Gladis Melendez Fuentes, 35, was killed after being buried under yard debris Thursday afternoon at the Shady Grove Transfer Center in Derwood.

FOX 5 has learned Fuentes was married and was a mother who had only recently started her job as a subcontractor of Maryland Environmental Services at the transfer center as a lot attendant in the spring.

Several of her coworkers were on medical leave Friday due to panic attacks and high blood pressure after witnessing what happened to Fuentes.

Just before 2 p.m. Thursday, emergency crews were called after reports someone was trapped under a pile of brush. They arrived and found Fuentes dead from her injuries.

Fuentes helped move traffic around and she also made sure any material coming into the yard waste facility was clear of contamination and trash.

The details of her death are still under investigation, but the county's director of the Department of Environmental Protection told FOX 5 what they know so far.

"The way the facility works is that trucks come in with the yard waste material, they dump it and then its pushed around with the heavy equipment just to keep organized before its ground up and then shipped out of here," said Adam Ortiz. "We know she was working on the lot and was doing her duties. There was a large front end loader which is a bulldozer-like piece of equipment that was pushing material and then she was crushed. There are protocols and this facility has been in existence for decades and never had an incident, that's part of the investigation now is that we are making sure protocols were followed and if not, why they weren't."

Montgomery County Police are conducting this investigation. So far, no one is facing any charges.