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Laurel Public Works employee Marcus Colbert, 30, is being remembered for his caring attitude on the job, following his death Monday when an SUV hit the trash truck he was working on.

On Jan. 23, Laurel police said, Colbert was loading trash into the tailgate of a city truck at Old Sandy Spring Road and Casulas Way when a Lincoln Navigator swerved into the truck after hitting a parked car. Colbert died at the scene, police said. The driver of the SUV remained at the scene but refused treatment.

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Colbert was the first city employee killed on the job, according to city spokeswoman Audrey Barnes.

Colbert was the son of Shirley Colbert, of Laurel, and Laurel Public Works employee Ralph Brent, Barnes said. He began his work with the city in June 2003 as a summer auxiliary employee with the Department of Parks and Recreation. In September 2005, Colbert was hired as a laborer for the city's Department of Public Works, joining his father who has worked for Laurel Public Works for 23 years. A cousin, Norman Hull, also works in the department.

Darrell Colbert, Marcus' younger brother, said the eldest sibling graduated from Laurel High School in 2005, as did Darrell and a sister, Cynthia.

Dwayne Jones, the school principal, said the staff plan to bring pizzas to the family's home and help them when needed.

"We want to get in touch with the family and see what we can do," Jones said. "It's a Laurel family in every sense of the word because we're talking about somebody who has had more than one child who has come through Laurel [High] and they ended up working for the city of Laurel. The school can only do so much, but we'll try to do what we can."

City Councilman Ed Ricks, of Ward 1, said he met Colbert early in his career with public works during Colbert's Tuesday and Thursday trash pick-ups in Ricks' neighborhood. Ricks said he would give Colbert and his coworkers bottles of water in the summertime and always received a smiling thank-you from Colbert.

"He was always a gentleman," Ricks said. "I watched him on the route [and saw] how courteous he was to people. He would take the trash cans for the elderly people he knew, and take them up to their doors so that they didn't have to come out and get it."

Colbert was an amazing city employee, Ricks said.

"You could count on him as sure as the sun would rise," he said. "He's sorely going to be missed by everyone."

Donations have been made to the Colbert family at the Public Works Department, Ricks said, most recently receiving a $1,000 check from Scotchtown Hills Elementary School.

Colbert received the Meritorious Service Award last year at the city of Laurel employee awards luncheon.

Public works director Robert Ferree could not be reached for comment.

The city of Laurel is accepting donations for the Colbert/Brent family. Checks should be made payable to the city of Laurel with "for the Marcus Colbert family" written in the memo line; and brought in or mailed to the city administrator's office at the Laurel Municipal Center, 8103 Sandy Spring Road.



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