As MoDOT workers hit in crash recover, agency urges metro drivers to pay attention

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. - Three Missouri Department of Transportation workers are out of the hospital and at home recovering Wednesday after they were hit while working on the side of the road Tuesday.

“We had a crew on the southbound on ramp to I-435, they were just about exit the vehicle to go pick up some liter, and before they could get out of the vehicle, a car ran into the back end of our dump truck,” said Lynelle Luther, MoDOT district maintenance engineer.

An SUV traveling at highway speeds slammed into the MoDOT vehicle. The people inside were jolted by the force of the impact.

Image courtesy of MoDOT KC via Twitter.

“We had one employee who was transported to the hospital, and two were taken for other medical treatment. All employees are recovering at this point,” Luther said.

The crash was bad, she said, but could have been a lot worse.

“If it would have happened 10 seconds later, we would have a whole different story because they would have been out of the truck and getting the signs and tools out of the back of the dump truck,” she said.

Police are investigating the crash to see what caused the driver of the SUV to go off of the road.

“We don’t know in this instance what the cause was, but we do know that many causes of accidents these days are from distraction,” said Eric Ramsey, MoDOT safety and health manager.

Ramsey is often among the first to arrive on scene when a MoDOT worker is involved in a crash.

“The first reaction when you arrive on one of these is 'not again' and 'what can we do to keep this from happening?'" Ramsey said.

He thinks the part of the problem is driver distraction.

“What we observe every single day are people looking down, and you can see them on their phone, texting and talking on the phone,” he said.

A one-second distraction could be the difference between life and death.

“Certainly there’s potential for severe injury to the citizens, to our people," he said. "There has historically been fatalities of the citizens and of the MoDOT employees, so it’s life, death and limb. So it’s not worth it."