Work Zone Safety
These are the stories of the men and women, both MDOT and contractors, who have been involved in a work zone crash - and have literally been one step from death.
Their stories are a reminder of the importance of work zone safety: Slow down, stay alert and obey the signs.
It was a hot day in July 2018 when C.A. Hull carpenter foreman Klay Gillham and his crewmates worked inside a closed construction zone on I-75 in Detroit. As Klay and the crew made their way back to their tool trailer for water and their next safety meeting, a rear-end crash occurred on the open roadway just in front of them. A distracted driver behind the crash swerved to avoid the cars, entered the closed work zone and struck Klay and another C.A. Hull crew member.
Both employees were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Klay was diagnosed with a brain bleed, three fractured vertebrae, a collapsed lung, multiple broken ribs, and a dislocated shoulder. Fortunately, the other crew member escaped with only minor injuries.
After spending five days in the intensive care unit and two weeks at a rehabilitation facility, Klay was permitted to return home to his wife and two young children. For the next nine months, Klay would have to undergo an exhausting physical therapy regimen before returning to work and his C.A. Hull team in April 2019.
On a clear day in September 2016, MDOT Construction Engineer Craig Innis was working on marking pavement for an ongoing maintenance project on the southbound I-475 ramp to westbound I-69 in Flint. He was about 20 feet behind his MDOT truck that was parked on the shoulder when he heard tires squealing. At that moment, he looked up to see a driver in a vehicle fishtailing out of control and hurtling toward him. Trying to avoid the impact, Craig began to run away from the road. Realizing that he would not be able to outrun the vehicle, he jumped to avoid being hit. The driver's vehicle struck Craig's right leg flipping him over and launching him headfirst into the shoulder.
Laying in the gravel, Craig could hear the driver's vehicle smash into the side of his work truck and the bridge abutment before coming to a stop. The driver fled the scene on foot and the police were never able to track the person down. Although shaken, Craig suffered only minor injuries and was able to return to work the next day.