Monday, September 9, 2019

From simple repair to near tragedy

Two maintenance workers jump over barrier at last second to avoid work zone collision

By Ryan Overton

A simple concrete repair job in Spokane quickly became terrifying for Allen Sexton and Koby Whetstine.

Working on the eastbound I-90 ramp to Hamilton Street in Spokane on Aug. 5, Allen and Koby were wrapping things up. The noisy work was done and they'd removed their ear protection, which quite possibly saved their lives. Moments later, a driver lost control of his vehicle and slid along the concrete barrier.
A speeding vehicle entered our work zone on I-90 in Spokane and slammed into our work truck,
sending the road crew members jumping over a barrier to safety.

The sound of the oncoming vehicle gave the two maintenance workers a split-second warning that the vehicle was careening toward them. With just seconds to react, Koby and Allen jumped over the barrier before the vehicle slammed into the back of their pickup truck.

"We heard it before we saw it, and all we did was look at it and jump," Koby said.

Our two colleagues remembered the incident in this video.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident. After a short foot pursuit, the driver of the car was taken into custody by the Washington State Patrol on suspicion of DUI.

"Incredibly lucky," Allen said. "You don't think too much ahead of time other than get out of the way. But afterwards, you think about it a lot."

This is another stark reminder about the dangers road crews face. The men and women who work to keep our highways safe have families and friends to go home to, and they count on the public's help to make that happen.
Left: The driver of the car that crashed into our I-90 work zone was arrested for possible DUI.
Right: A car smashed into the concrete barrier and construction sign, which alerted our
crew members up ahead just seconds before the car struck their work truck.

"The first thing I did was think about my 11-month-old daughter, after it happened, and how I might've never seen her (again)," Koby said.

So what can you do to help?
  • Slow down, especially near work zones
  • Move over and give road crews some extra room. Not only is it smart, it's also the law.
  • Stay alert for signage and work zones.
  • Never drive while distracted – this is the top cause of work zone crashes in our state.
  • Drive sober
We're so thankful that Allen and Koby made it through this scary incident safely, but it could've been so much worse. Sadly, all of our road workers have a story of a near miss – or worse – that they've experienced on the job.

Working near traffic is dangerous. We take as many precautions as possible, but we also need your help to make sure everyone -- our workers and the traveling public -- gets home safely at the end of the day.

"We want to get home to our family as much as they want to get home to their family every night," Allen said.

3 comments:

Mikey said...

I personaly slow down a construcion projects. Sometimes drivers behind me get impatient. I don't care. The workers are there to repair and maintain our hiways. I know its the law!

WSDOT said...

Mikey,

Thank you! We appreciate you watching out for our crews.

Unknown said...

THESE GUYS AND GALS ARE RISKING THEIR LIVES EVERY DAY TO MAKE THE ROADS SAFER FOR US! IT ONLY MAKES SENSE FOR US TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO PROTECT, RESPECT AND THANK THEM FOR A JOB THAT SOME THINK IS DESIGNED TO MAKE OUR COMMUTE MORE DIFFICULT AND LONGER. WISE UP, SLOW DOWN, AND MOVE OVER! THESE PEOPLE ARE RIGHT UP THERE WITH OUR POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS IN MY OPINION AND DESERVE ALL THE RESPECT WE CAN GIVE THEM! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRADE PLACES WITH THEM FOR A DAY OR TWO? NOT ME.....

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