State worker killed in port accident remembered as dedicated colleague

Gillus, 46, struck by truck at Dundalk Marine Terminal

April 13, 2011|By Yeganeh June Torbati, The Baltimore Sun

Colleagues and supervisors mourned the loss of a state worker who was killed while trying to stop an out-of-control truck Tuesday morning at the Dundalk Marine Terminal, remembering James Mills Gillus as a dedicated and well-liked employee.

Police believe Gillus, a 46-year-old Dundalk man and equipment operator for the Maryland Environmental Service, noticed his truck rolling backward shortly after he had parked it about 10:15 a.m. near Berth 14, said Sgt. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for Maryland Transportation Authority police.

"He attempted to get into the vehicle and to stop the vehicle from rolling, and in the process he was struck and killed by the truck," Green said.

Gillus was pronounced dead at the scene. He had worked for the environmental service for more than seven years, according to Chris Garrigan, an agency spokeswoman. Gillus held a commercial driver's license and regularly operated heavy machinery, including backhoes, Bobcats and trucks used to move waste containers, she said.

Employees in the agency's Millersville headquarters were deeply saddened by news of his death, Garrigan said.

"He was known throughout the agency," she said. "He was very highly thought of."

In a statement, Gillus' direct supervisor, Richard Foxx, described Gillus as "a good man and my friend."

"He never shirked a duty. He always got the job done," Foxx said.

Charles Madison, the agency's executive director for technical and environmental services, headed Gillus' unit and said he was "a great employee … he was always someone you could depend on. He had a great attitude."

According to Garrigan, the agency conducts weekly safety training sessions at the Dundalk Marine Terminal, and she could not recall any recent work-related fatalities within the department. She said she could not comment about whether the accident would spark additional training for employees until she sees the police report.

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