It is unbelievable how dangerous it can be sitting on the shoulder of an interstate highway. You’re a target for any driver who’s spending too much time staring at their phone or decided to have a drink before getting behind the wheel. There was another dramatic reminder of this danger earlier this week in Northern Ohio.
On Thursday morning, an employee for the Ohio Department of Transportation had stopped on the shoulder of the Interstate 77’s northbound lanes. The highway technician was on his way to pick up a street sweeper but stopped to pick up trash he spotted on the roadside. However, he would never step out of his truck.
CCTV footage caught a dump truck leaving the right lane and wandering onto the shoulder. Almost as if he was targeting the stationary vehicle, the dump truck’s driver plows right into the back of the ODOT truck. The collision footage is stunning as there’s a massive fireball on impact. Both trucks were carried off the pavement and down an embankment by the force of the crash, leaving a trail of flames in their wake.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident and was able to get the drivers out of their destroyed vehicles. According to sheriff’s deputies, both drivers were hospitalized, and the dump truck driver has life-threatening injuries.
Gery Noirot, an ODOT deputy director, said in a video statement, “Our highway worker, better yet our brother, a husband, a father and a grandfather has suffered serious injuries. It is nothing short of a miracle that he survived.” Noirot noted that the sheriff’s office was investigating the incident. Though, he heavily implies that the incident could have been caused by distracted driving. Over 80 ODOT crews have been struck on the road by other vehicles so far this year.