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Four highway workers struck; one dead in O'Fallon crash

Truck mounted attenuators, known as TMAs, are safety devices used in road construction zones to protect motorists and work crews from harm. The truck safety attachment did not spare four construction workers from becoming car accident victims on a recent Monday morning in O'Fallon.

The men were working on an Illinois Department of Transportation road-striping project on eastbound Interstate 64. Reports say the TMA was connected to a construction vehicle parked on the inner shoulder of the highway. The men were on or near the device just after 9:30 a.m. when the fatal car accident occurred.

State police said a Honda Accord smashed into the TMA and struck all four road workers. One of the crewmembers, a 38-year-old father of three, died from crash injuries at Saint Louis University Hospital. A second, 40-year-old construction worker is listed in critical condition at the same hospital.

The third crewmember, a 32-year-old man, was undergoing surgery. His condition was not reported. The fourth victim, a 39-year-old man, was transported to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition.

Illinois State Police are continuing to investigate what caused the 34-year-old Honda driver to veer into the TMA. The Accord driver was hurt in the accident. Officials said the man's injuries are not life threatening.

The purpose of a truck-mounted attenuator is to prevent accidents and save the vulnerable lives of road construction workers. The device is supposed to work as a cushion between crews and motorists.

Investigators are anxious to learn why the Honda veered away from the main line of traffic and onto the eastbound shoulder of the road. Police will look for signs of driver negligence, like alcohol, drug consumption or distracted driving. Possible medical and mechanical problems will be examined.

Source: ksdk.com, "I-64 car accident involves 4 highway workers," Katie Maassen, May 23, 2012

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