Two VDOT contractors working on an I-81 bridge near Greenville, Virginia (VA), suffered injuries when a minivan driver lost control of her vehicle while passing through the work zone a little before 7 am on June 16, 2016. The driver first struck a guardrail on the left side of the interstate, then careened across both lanes and hit the guardrail on the right side. One highway worker was clipped by the minivan and is expected to recover. The other worker sustained critical injuries when he fell down an embankment after jumping over a railing to avoid the out-of-control vehicle.
Preliminary reckless driving charges have been filed against the woman behind the wheel of the minivan. Other charges may follow. The more badly injured contractor was reported to be "fighting for his life" the following morning.
The nearly deadly wreck occurred during a month when the Virginia Department of Transportation is making extra efforts to remind drivers to slow down and move over to create safety buffers for road crews. It is unclear from reported details whether this I-81 work zone crash resulted from speeding or some other cause like distraction, falling asleep at the wheel or intoxication. What is clear, however, is that the minivan driver could have done more to respect and protect the lives and health of road crew members. Even though she did not collide with the critically injured man, she must be held accountable because her actions led directly to his hospitalization and likely disability.