GREEN, Ohio — A fiery crash on I-77 in Summit County Thursday morning nearly cost the lives of two drivers.
Before 7:20 a.m., an ODOT worker was headed to pick up a street sweeper from another location, and had pulled his truck over on the way when he noticed trash on the side of the highway.
He was still inside the cab, when a dump truck veared off, crashing without appearing to slow down.
“Here's a guy doing his job…going above and beyond you know,” said District 4 Deputy Gery Noirot during a Thursday afternoon news conference. “Behind me is the result of that accident…” he said, gesturing to a burned out vehicle.
The force pushed the burning trucks down an embankment near Green's Graybill Road, in the northbound lanes, as other drivers pulled over to help.
ODOT shared video of the crash, which you can see below:
The Summit County Sheriff's Office had to extract both drivers to get them to the hospital. Deputies say the dump truck driver's injuries are life-threatening.
“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,” said Noirot.
While ODOT hasn’t released his name, 3News learned he's been with ODOT for 10 years, and his wife and two children are by his side now as he recovers from serious injuries.
“Right away you ask yourself why this happened and what we can do to prevent these things from happening in the future?” said Noirot.
This marks the 82nd ODOT crew that's been struck in 2022, outpacing 2021 which saw 154 such crashes all calendar year.
It’s not a stretch to say distracted driving is an issue everywhere. Summit County deputies reconstructed the scene, and are still investigating what exactly happened in this case, another example of the daily dangers of jobs near the roadway.
“The law says move over and slow down for roadside workers. If your attention isn't on the road, you'll never see them in the first place,” said Noirot.
Noirot says they question everything after cases like these - distracted driving laws, hands-free driving requirements, whether they need more signage or speed trailers in construction zones. He urged everyone to take responsibility behind the wheel.
“We are all responsible. We all need to be better and we all need to do better,” he said.
Noirot released the following statement a few hours after the crash:
Early today, an ODOT District 4 Highway Technician was struck alongside Interstate 77 in the City of Green. He was transported to a local hospital and is currently being treated with serious, but non-life threating injuries. We are extremely fortunate he is alive as this could have had a much different outcome. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
Drivers in the area also encountered heavy traffic delays as a result of the crash with bumper-to-bumper conditions up to Route 30 in Stark County.
The crash remains under investigation.
No additional details were immediately available, but stay with 3News as we will update this story if more information is released.
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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated story on April 28, 2022.
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