Hit-And-Run Driver Kills Construction Worker

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Columbus Police continue their search of a hit and run driver who killed a road crew worker on I-70 Westbound early Wednesday morning. Some are asking questions about worker safety on the highway.

Reflective barrels and cones, road work signs and lights were reportedly all in place at the time the accident occurred. But, they weren’t enough to stop the driver of an SUV travelling westbound on I-70 between James Road and Livingston. The vehicle plowed into construction worker 25 year old Eric Kirkbride of Zanesville. He worked for Shelley and Sands, Incorporated, an ODOT contractor. ODOT’s Deputy Director, Scott Varner says his agency takes many safety precautions.

“The amount of warning that is given ahead of time, the number of the spacing between the cones, how the cones go, the use of lighted equipment, how bright lights are,” says Varner.

Varner says construction at night allows for more traffic during peak hours. He adds that only one lane was open on I-70 Westbound at the time of the accident and that the speed was still 65 miles an hour.

“We will work with the contractor and authorities to best understand the situation. What happened that this driver did not see the orange barrels, did not see the orange lighted arrow, did not see the warnings about a work zone ahead that caused this accident,” adds Varner.

Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Wiener says the vehicle involved sustained heavy front end damage. He wonders if more can be done to prevent such accidents.

“Most often there are just barrels and not heavy barriers protecting the workers or keeping the workers from the vehicular traffic. So everyone is reminded to slow down, be mindful of the workers and pay attention,” reminds Wiener.

Construction was halted last night on that section of I-70 because of the accident.