Bronx News
Jan 31, 2018

BRONX NEWS: NYC worker injured by street sweeper feared for drumming career

When sanitation worker Mark Bonifacio’s arm was sucked into a street sweeper as he toiled in the Bronx recently, the part-time jazz drummer had one thought running through his head — he was never going to make music again.

“I was praying to God that I didn’t lose my arm,” Bonifacio, 50, said Wednesday from Jacobi Medical Center. “I’m a professional jazz drummer and this is totally messing up my plans.”

The 19-year Department of Sanitation veteran broke his humerus bone when the rig pulled his arm into its gears at Balcom Ave. and Bruckner Blvd. in Throggs Neck at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. He suffered nerve damage along with the broken arm.

“There is no feeling in my whole arm,” Bonifacio said. “You know how you feel when you fall asleep on your arm — it feels like that. It feels like it’s 50 pounds. And some feeling is coming back but the feelings are painful.”

Sanitation worker busted for plastic bottle attack in Brooklyn

Bonifacio enjoys writing music for his contemporary jazz group on his off hours.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to be out of commission,” he said. “It hurts like hell. I can’t even drive my car because it’s stick.”

For the last 17 years, Bonifacio has been running a street sweeper in the Bronx.

On Tuesday, he saw a truck tire in his path. He got out of his rig to kick the tire out of the way but it got sucked up into his machine.

Sanitation worker treated like garbage over Middle Eastern DNA

“I was reversing, trying to get (the tire) out, but it wasn’t underneath, it was inside,” he said. “I went to get my gloves and turn the thing off but I should have just left it alone.”

Bonifacio shut down the sweeper’s flights that pull in dirt and debris before removing the tire but the object was under so much pressure the machine automatically sucked in his arm as soon as the tire was freed, he said.

“I was in a lot of pain but eventually I didn’t feel anything because my arm was crushed,” he said.

Despite his injury, Bonifacio, who was operating the street sweeper alone, was able to with his other hand fish his phone out of his pocket and call a supervisor, who raced to the scene while calling 911 for help.

Family of sanitation worker killed by street sweeper wins M

“Thank God I had my phone on me,” Bonifacio said.

First responders were able to free his arm and take him to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was scheduled to undergo surgery.

“It could be weeks before my nerves can heal,” he said.

throggs neck

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:

NYC worker injured by street sweeper feared for drumming career

Leave a comment