Thursday, February 6, 2003

Workers hit while installing I-75 safety barrier



By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

[photo] This PT Cruiser, trying to avoid a four-car pileup, swerved into the median, struck two workers and hit this construction truck
(Michael Snyder photos)
| ZOOM |
MONROE - Two construction workers installing a cable safety barrier on a deadly stretch of Interstate 75 became victims themselves Wednesday morning when they were struck by a car during a six-vehicle crash near Ohio 63.

Ron Gambrell, 52, of Northside was airlifted to University Hospital and was in serious condition with multiple leg fractures. Bonnie Mills, 37, of Hamilton, was airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. She, too, was in serious condition.

No other injuries were reported.

The workers are employed by Security Fence Group Inc., a Cincinnati-based company installing the safety barrier for the Ohio Department of Transportation. Security Fence officials would not comment Wednesday.

"We're trying to prevent (accidents), and then we have an accident," ODOT spokeswoman Brenda Bradds said. The cable safety barrier is being installed because of numerous fatal accidents in that area involving median crossovers.

[photo] Traffic backs up at the scene of a six-vehicle accident Wednesday.
| ZOOM |
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said a construction truck pulled out of the I-75 median into the southbound left lane about 8:50 a.m., touching off a chain-reaction collision involving four vehicles. Within seconds, a Chrysler PT Cruiser that was trying to miss the initial collision swerved into the median, striking the workers and hitting a second construction truck, Lt. Michael Black said.

Failing to maintain an assured clear distance played a part, he said.

The crash remains under investigation, and no citations have been issued. The names of drivers involved have not been released.

The accident closed north I-75 north of Ohio 63 for about 25 minutes.

Construction crews have been working on the barrier project since December and are scheduled to have it installed by the end of March.

It will run from Hamilton-Mason Road in Liberty Township to just south of Ohio 73 in Springboro.

E-mail daveck@fuse.net




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