By Casey Simoneau
I was on duty a few years back and had just gotten in my patrol car when I heard a highway worker had been struck and killed. I went to the location of the crash and tried to assist where needed. It was an extremely difficult scene to view.
Any event where a person has been killed is difficult to work. The difficulty is compounded when someone is killed while doing their job on the side of the road. Troopers and highway workers are at the mercy of the traffic that is surrounding them. Highway workers depend on signs, cones, law enforcement and other personnel to keep their work area safe around them. On this particular day none of those safety measures worked.
While at the scene of an incident like this you find yourself wondering “why did this happen?” “What if a law enforcement officer would have been in the area to stop this person?” “How can this be avoided next time?” These are all questions that are constantly running through every law enforcement officer’s mind as well as highway workers.
When a person is killed along the side of a highway, the aftermath is felt all over the local community, the law enforcement community, and also with their co-workers. But even more so, it is even harder for the families of those involved. Many people do not believe that an incident of this capacity could ever happen to you, however the fact is that it could happen to anyone. Due to the profession that we chose, law enforcement and road workers have a greater chance of being killed on the side of the road than anyone else.
What happened on that day will never be forgotten by the many personnel that were working that day. It will never be forgotten by the community, nor will it be forgotten by the workers in the construction zone that day. That incident not only directly impacted his family, but it also affected numerous communities. Each day, I drive by the area and I see the flowers sitting in the ditch next to the area of where the road workers lost their life. It is a constant reminder of that tragic day and I always hope that an incident like that never happens again.
With this said I would like to remind people to be cautious of the highway workers working on the roadways. People tend to get frustrated with work zones and all the signs, cones and equipment that come with them, but the workers are there to make your highways safer for you and me.
Please slow down and be mindful that each of the highway workers is doing their jobs and they have families that they would like to go home to at the end of their shift. Through these great people, we as Kansans get the opportunity to enjoy one of the best roadway systems in all of the Unites States. The Kansas Highway Patrol would like to say THANK YOU.
Casey Simoneau is a Technical Trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol