Death of MoDOT worker prompts calls for safety

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Ebker
EBKER

FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO - The death earlier this month of a longtime MoDOT employee in Franklin County, MO, has sparked renewed calls for motorists to pay attention and slow down while driving in work zones.

Lyndon Ebker, 55, of New Haven, MO, died April 7 after he was struck by an eastbound car on Highway 100 at the Boeuf Creek bridge.

Ebker, a 30-year MoDOT employee, was working with a crew that was washing salt, chemicals and dirt off the bridge when he was struck by a 2003 Volkswagen Passat driven by Norman E. Haimila, 80, Hermann, according to a Missouri Highway Patrol report.

Ebker retired in 2013 as a construction inspector. After retirement, he continued to work for MoDOT as a part-time maintenance worker.

The patrol said Ebker was stopping eastbound traffic to let westbound vehicles pass through the work zone. Haimila apparently swerved to avoid a stopped dump truck and his car struck Ebker, the patrol reported.

“Our sympathy and prayers go out to Lyndon’s wife and family,” said Greg Horn, MoDOT’s St. Louis District Engineer. “Our hearts are heavy, too. He has lots of friends here and will be missed. Lyndon was a valuable employee and had a long history with MoDOT.”

PREVENTABLE

MoDOT is reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention in work zones.

  • Seventeen MoDOT workers have died on the job since 2000.
  • Sixty-one people died and 3,222 people were injured in Missouri work zone crashes between 2010 and 2015.
  • In Illinois, from 2010 to 2014, there were over 4,500 work zone motor vehicle crashes, resulting in nearly 1,100 injuries, and 27 fatalities with an average of 2 worker fatalities per year.

Authorities say most of those deaths could have been prevented.

In a prepared statement, Gov. Jay Nixon said Ebker was killed “while working to keep his MoDOT co-workers and motorists safe.”

“I call upon all drivers to be especially careful when encountering work zones or the scene of an accident,” Nixon said. “Extra caution helps to protect everyone, including the highway workers and law enforcement officers who are at these sites to help keep us safe.”

WORK ZONE AWARENESS

According to MoDOT, the top five contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2015 were following too closely, inattention, changing lanes, failing to yield, and driving too fast for conditions. Motorists are required by the 2012 ‘Move Over’ law to slow down or change lanes when approaching law enforcement, emergency response vehicles and MoDOT vehicles parked on the side of the road or in a lane.

Missouri interstates and major roads will have numerous work zones through the fall, MoDOT said. Interstate 44 and Interstate 70 will each have more than a dozen work zones across the state. Many of these work zones are nighttime lane closures, but there are 17 major work zones expected to cause traffic delays on interstates and some major roads this year.

“Please pay attention and drive safely in work zones. Wait to merge and take turns with the other drivers on the road to reduce your delay time in work zones,” said MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “We want you and our workers to make it home safe every day.”

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