Report: Butler County work area where construction worker was killed ‘had no advanced warning’

A 21-year-old man was killed Monday afternoon while working construction when he was struck on Ohio 73 near Jacksonburg Road in Wayne Twp., and officials said in a crash report that area “had no advanced warning.”

Alexander M. King, 21, of Higginsport, Ohio, was working as a flagger for Elex Inc. when he as struck by a vehicle, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. Distracted driving and impairment do not appear to be factors, officials said.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning shared news about the death of the worker Monday night on social media.

“It is again another example of why we keep demanding that drivers move over, slow down, and pay attention to road workers. These crashes should never happen,” he said.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about 1:08 p.m. that a pedestrian had been struck not far from the recently completed roundabout. A man called 911 and told dispatchers, “I just had a flagger get hit by a car, I don’t know if he is alive or dead.”

The caller said the injured man was not moving. The driver who hit the person stayed at the scene, he said.

“I don’t feel nothing,” the caller says after kneeling beside the injured man. “He was flagging and the person run right into him.”

King was taken to Kettering Health Hamilton, where he later died. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also was called to the scene.

A cause of the crash has not yet been determined, according to Butler Count Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Steve Poff.

A 71-year-old man was the driver of the GMC Yukon XL that struck King, according to the crash report. The report states the driver was traveling west on 73 “in a work zone that had no advanced warning and no transition area around the activity area.”

The vehicle was estimated to be traveling 35 mph in a 55 mph zone.

King was flagging traffic around a piece of equipment that was doing sign installation near the roundabout.

In April, transportation agencies marked National Work Zone Awareness Week, with a plea for motorists to be aware during the construction season

ODOT crews were struck 125 times last year, ODOT officials said. Despite lower traffic volume due to the pandemic, there were 4,540 crashes in Ohio work zones. Eighteen of those crashes were deadly, resulting in 19 deaths.

Statistics from the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse show there were 762 fatal crashes in work zones across the United States resulting in 842 deaths in 2019, the latest year with data available. In addition, 135 roadway workers were killed in work zones in 2019.

“Driving requires 100 percent of your attention, but driving in a work zone requires even more. There are many variables, from lane restrictions to changing traffic patterns and reduced speed limits, so it is imperative that drivers and workers do their best to pay attention at all times,” said Kathleen Fuller, ODOT District 8 spokeswoman.

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