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MoDOT worker nearly struck by vehicle shares his story about traffic safety

Posted: 12:17 PM, Apr 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-03 13:17:51-04

On March 9, a truck carrying asphalt was spilling material on I-435 near Front Street in Kansas City, Missouri. 

"The truck was going down the road and they didn't have their tailgate latched," said Jordan Carr, MoDOT employee. "It was enough that we had to take the loader out with us to scoop the road."

The spilled asphalt was blocking the right lane of the road and causing a hazard to traffic.

"I was watching the loader. It was trying to scoop off the asphalt, but there was some that was already dried and there were little patches on the road where the tire tracks went through."

So Carr grabbed a shovel, got out of the truck and started chipping away. He was positioned in between two large MoDOT trucks.

"I had a bad feeling about the whole thing," he said. "After I had chipped off one of the little asphalt patches, I looked up and there was a car coming right at me. I had barely any time to get out of the way and just enough time to make one good lunge."

The tan mini van went down the guardrail and turned in between the two trucks where Carr had been working.

"It ran into the truck in front of me and then went across all three lanes of I-435. He was lucky that he didn't hit any other cars," said Carr. 

The van sustained serious damage, but the two people inside were ok.

MoDOT said eight people were killed in work zone crash last year.

"It's very uncommon to see this many," said Chris Redline, assistant district engineer for MoDOT. "Our folks are at a very heightened awareness. They see a lot of close calls, too."

April 3-7 is National Work Zone Awareness Week. The goal is to encourage safe driving habits through work zones to make sure everyone gets home safely.

MoDOT is hosting its annual Big Truck Night from 4 to 7 pm on Monday at the district office in Lee's Summit, Missouri.

According to a press release sent out by MoDOT, driver inattention was the number one cause of work zone crashes in 2016.

“Expect to see a lot of cones this summer,” said Brian Burger, engineer for the Kansas City District of Construction and Materials. “Slow down and pay attention while driving through work zones. Eliminate any distractions while traveling.”

As for Carr, he is thankful he walked away from the crash unhurt.

"I believe in what we do and the precautions that we take to do our job the safest way possible," he said. "It just takes the traveling public to slow down and recognize what we're doing. People are driving too fast and they're not paying attention. They are on their phone and doing their makeup and eating breakfast. We're only trying to keep the roads safe for you guys. I'd just appreciate it if you guys would move over."

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Jade DeGood can be reached at  Jade.DeGood@KSHB.com.

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