Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Right place at the right time helps Spokane crew avoid tragedy

By Al Gilson and Mike Allende

Jeremy Scott and his crew were setting up a lane closure to get some road work done at the I-90 ramp at Division Street in Spokane one mid-August morning when the situation changed in a hurry.

While one truck was setting out signs, Jeremy trailed in a TMA (truck mounted attenuator) to provide those workers with some extra protection. Because while signage was already out letting drivers know the left lane was closed, and a large arrow board mounted on Jeremy's truck indicated the lane was closed, you never know. And in this case, it's a good thing Jeremy and the TMA were there.
Jeremy Scott, a maintenance technician in our Spokane area, was shaken up and had minor injuries when a pickup truck ran into the back of his work vehicle while his crew was setting up lane closed signage.

The workers were outside of the lead vehicle setting up a sign when a pickup truck zipped out of the center lane into the left to pass. Realizing the lane was closed, the truck attempted to move back to the center but lost control and slammed into the back of Jeremy's truck at about 60 mph.

Jeremy reported some neck and back pain and was definitely shaken up.

"It's scary to think of what might have happened to the crew setting the sign if I wasn't there," said Jeremy, a Maintenance Lead Technician who has worked for WSDOT for 10 years. "They had little protection except for my vehicle."
Jeremy Scott was in a truck mounted attenuator similar to this - providing an extra level of protection to
other road workers – when a pickup truck slammed into the back of it.

The State Patrol cited the driver of the pickup and Jeremy ended up on modified duty for a week while recovering. The TMA also suffered $3,000 in damage.
Maintenance technician Jeremy Scott reads with his daughter. He helped keep his crewmates safe when a pickup truck ran into the back of his work vehicle in Spokane.

When we talk about work zones it's important to remember that we don't just mean major construction areas. Sometimes we may be on the side of the road doing vegetation management. Sometimes we're inspecting underneath a bridge. Some, like in Jeremy and his team's case, are mobile. That's why it's always important to stay alert and focused on the highways. We put out advanced warning signage to alert drivers of upcoming work and closures and we need people to pay attention to those warnings.

Just as important, once you encounter a work zone, slow down and whenever possible, move over. Not only does it help keep workers safe, it's the law.

We're thankful that Jeremy, his crew and the pickup truck driver didn't suffer serious injuries – things could've been a lot worse – but simply paying attention and slowing down may have prevented the incident altogether. So please help keep Jeremy, his teammates and all road workers safe by following the simple steps of being alert, moving over and slowing down.