VDOT crews recount near misses in work zones

CHANTILLY, Va. — The nice weather means we will be seeing more road construction crews out either filling pot holes or building roads.

But last year in Virginia, crashes in work zones took the lives of 10 people — among them both drivers and construction workers. Statewide, more than 2,400 crashes took place in work zones and 1,170 people were injured in 2016.

Charles Marsh is a road maintenance worker for the Virginia Department of Transportation and the father of three children ages 12, 8 and 5.

One beautiful, sunny day in June 2016 at about 10:30 in the morning, he had a close call while working as a flagman in a work zone along Evergreen Mills Road in the Leesburg area.

He said they had “Road Work Ahead” signs set up. Also signs saying “One Lane Ahead” and “Be Prepared to Stop” were posted. Plus they also had a flagmen sign.

Marsh said he was the flagman holding the stop sign and he could see a car barreling toward him. He said at the last second, he jumped out of the way. The car hit and ran over the stop sign he had been holding.

He said a distracted driver, who was looking at her phone while driving about 40 mph, almost ran him down. Marsh said the woman in her late 20s.

“I didn’t speak to her. I was pretty shook up. I went over and sat on edge of the road. It made me pretty sick to my stomach.”

Marsh said if he had not been alert and paying attention, he would not be alive today. He said road crews deal with many distracted drivers in work zones.

Thaddeus Jones also works for VDOT doing road crew work. Last fall he became the victim of a pregnant woman in a road rage at a work zone.

He said he tried to get her to stop, but that she refused to stop and that is when she tapped him with her car.

He said to her, “Lady, didn’t I tell you to stop?“ That is when he said she got out of the car. “And she leaves the car in gear. And now the car hits me again,“ he said.

He was not seriously hurt but he said the state police were able to track her down after she left.

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