Workers at risk when drivers are distracted

Local News
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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — IDOT says a worker is in critical condition after being hit while doing roadwork. His crew was on Morton Avenue near Mobile Road, just east of Jacksonville, Monday afternoon.

86-year old Dale Gibbs, of Jacksonville, was driving when he hit the worker, another employee and an IDOT truck with an employee inside. Officials say Gibbs and three workers were taken to the hospital. Two of those workers had minor injuries and should be okay.

The crash is staring a state-wide conversation about roadwork safety. With this nice weather, more crews will be out doing work while they can, especially because IDOT says this is one of the worst pothole seasons in a few years. But, it’s not worth dying for.

“I’ve seen quite my share of fatal accidents and it’s something that I would never wish upon anyone.”

Especially someone doing their job, like an IDOT employee patching potholes.

“I’ve never had that experience and I hope that I never have to.”

But, Macon County Sheriff’s Sergeant Scott Flannery says it’s up to drivers, like Bill Walters. When it comes to roadwork, he gets it.

“You just have to be cautious. They’re doing their job.”

But, Flannery says not everyone’s as careful as they should be. They speed or text through construction zones and then people get hurt, like the IDOT workers who were hit just a few counties away. But, the solution is simple.

“Just slow down and use some common sense.”

The law says drivers have to get in the other lane when they see roadwork or give IDOT employees plenty of space if they can’t do that. Not only could it save you a ticket, it could save a life.

“There’s nowhere in this world that you have to be in that big of a hurry.”

IDOT workers in Macon County say two of their trucks were hit last year and they’ve already had some close calls this year, but no accidents yet. They want to keep it that way.

IDOT says there were 23 crashes in Illinois work zones last year with 29 deaths. One was an IDOT employee.

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