I have done maintenance work on the highways for KDOT for more than 29 years. I have been in and seen many accidents and injuries in my time here, but one day in particular stands out.
It started out like any other typical June day, but it would soon be a day I would always remember. I gave out job assignments that morning, like normal. One of them was to my Equipment Operator Specialist who I sent to assist the Bridge Inspection crew from the district office on an inspection project.
About three hours later, I received a call about a KDOT truck involved in an accident. It was only about a five-mile to drive to accident scene, but it was a long five miles. I didn’t know if anybody had been hurt or killed, or who was involved.
When I finally got there
I realized this was where the inspection crew and my EO Specialist were working. I pulled up and I noticed the bridge inspection truck and a motorist’s vehicle on its side with somebody in it. But I didn’t see my person or his vehicle, and my heart missed a beat or two. Then I finally saw him - he was down the road providing traffic control.
After talking to everyone involved, I found out that all the KDOT workers were out of their vehicles and under the bridge working when they heard a crash. They saw my EO Specialist’s truck pushed off the road about 100 yards down into the ditch. The truck hit so hard, it pushed trees down in the ditch.
The motorist’s vehicle then hit the inspection crew’s truck, which was parked about 75 feet away. If the workers had been coming up from under the bridge and been near the vehicles, it could have been terrible.
The driver was taken to the hospital and was fine. He said that he didn’t see the lights going on any of the vehicles.
Overall, we were very lucky to not have anybody hurt or killed. I would just like to remind everybody – pay attention. If you see lights, slow down, check your surroundings and get over if possible.
Jeff Romine is a KDOT Supervisor in Eskridge