An employee at a St. Helena garbage company was killed early Tuesday after he apparently fell under the wheels of a slow-moving garbage truck and trailer, the CHP reported.

The victim was Gabriel Diaz-Cervantes, 44, of Calistoga, CHP Officer Garret Ray said.

"It was a terrible accident," Ray said. "All these guys work together."

The work day was just getting under way Tuesday at Upper Valley Disposal Service when the incident occurred.

It was about 3:45 a.m. and Diaz-Cervantes, a garbage truck driver, had just gone to check in at the Whitehall Lane office.

Co-worker Alan McClure, 58 of Napa was driving by the office at about 3 mph as Diaz-Cervantes was coming out, said Ray.

McClure was driving a 1984 Freightliner garbage truck and trailer.

"Gabriel comes out of the office . . . he's walking out, trips or falls, falling in front of the rear duals of the trailer," Ray said.

"The trailer ran him over," he said.

There was no witness to know whether the man tripped.

Another employee who'd left the office in front of the victim heard the man scream and yelled to McClure to stop.

Diaz-Cervantes died at the scene.

A CalOSHA investigator was responding -- standard for cases of workplace injuries or deaths.

A woman contacted by phone at the company later Tuesday morning sounded upset.

"We have had a fatality here," she said, adding that it was under investigation and she wasn't able to discuss what happened.

The garbage collection and recycling center serves the upper Napa Valley.

Whitehall Lane is off of Highway 29, just south of St. Helena.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or