• Last modified 778 days ago (Aug. 13, 2020)


Dead trucker goes unnoticed in Barkman lot

Staff writer

A trucker who died in his truck in a Barkman Honey parking lot was not found until nearly a day later, according to police chief Dan Kinning.

“Nobody thought twice about it really,” he said. “It’s just a truck sitting there in a lot full of trucks.

By the time a 911 call was made just before 11:45 a.m. Aug. 5, Joseph Gruba’s body already was cold. Gruba was supposed to be at Barkman Honey the morning of Aug. 4.

“He was supposed to be there, I can’t remember exactly, sometime early in the morning,” Kinning said. “We know he was there at 6 o’clock that evening because the truck was seen sitting there.”

Barkman Honey could not be reached for comment.

Gruba, who was from California, had been backing up his truck to pick up a trailer when he suffered a heart attack, Kinning said.

“We could tell by his tracks,” Kinning said. “Luckily, he was between gears in neutral when he died. If he was in gear and the brakes weren’t set, that thing would have just rolled until it hit something.”

Having the incident occur in a parking lot might have been the safest option, as opposed to occuring on a highway, coroner Don Hodson said.

Police met with Gruba’s family, who said he had not feeling well a few days before.

“He had some other medical complications,” Kinning said. “It wouldn’t have kept him from driving a truck, but it wouldn’t have helped either.”

Hodson said he was surprised Gruba had been cleared to drive a truck.

“They do have a pretty stringent medical policy for commercial truck drivers now,” he said.

Last modified Aug. 13, 2020