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Pedestrian killed near row of Norcross furniture stores

NORCROSS — A 67-year-old man was fatally struck by a garbage truck Thursday morning outside a row of furniture stores in Norcross, police said.

Investigators said Norcross resident Douglas Ezell was known to loiter almost every day in the parking lot where he died, totting binoculars that he used to peer across Interstate 85.

The incident occurred at 8:24 a.m. in the parking lot of a 6438 Dawson Blvd. business. Ezell was dead at the scene when police arrived, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.

A business at that address is described online as a wood furniture retailer.

An investigation revealed the Georgia Waste Systems garbage truck was properly backing up at low speed after emptying a dumpster at the location. The driver will not be charged, Smith said.

“Ezell was loitering in the parking lot and approached the truck in a blind spot,” Smith said.

Employees in the area had approached Ezell on several occasions, and he would attempt to hide his actions and refused to answer their questions, Smith said.

Police were never called about the suspicious activity, and Ezell was never arrested by Gwinnett police.

However, court records show that a Gwinnett judge in 2003 granted a Duluth woman a permanent restraining order against Ezell.

According to company records, that woman works as a lead engineer at a 2000 Northeast Expressway laboratory in Norcross — located across the interstate from the accident scene.

Police did not determine exactly what Ezell was doing in the parking lot at the time, as it was not pertinent to the accident investigation. Smith said Ezell usually kept a vehicle parked in the area but did not on Thursday.

“The binoculars were directly next to him when officers arrived, so it’s likely he was looking through them,” Smith said.

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