Two flown to hospitals following work zone crash

Flagman struck in second incident Tuesday at highway construction zone; motorists reminded to take extra care

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Oct. 1, 2008 - Authorities are reminding motorists to be cautious when approaching road construction zones, a warning that takes on extra meaning in the wake of two incidents on State Highway 19 south Tuesday.

Two people were flown from the scene of the first collision involving three vehicles, and a flagman working on the other end of the construction zone was struck later in the day, according to reports.

The first collision occurred about 9:15 a.m. south of FM 1567, where traffic was confined to one lane at a time, with vehicles having to wait for a pilot truck to lead them through the construction zone.

A Hopkins County Sheriff's Office spokesman said a woman was in her car at the back of the line when a pickup came up from behind at a high rate of speed and slammed into her car. The impact knocked the woman's car into the vehicle sitting in front of her, while the pickup veered off of the road.

The roadway was blocked until Hopkins County and Arbala fire and rescue workers could arrive to help clear the scene. Emergency medical technicians were dispatched to the crash site to tend to the man driving the pickup and the woman, whose identities were not released. Both were later flown to out-of-town hospitals. The sheriff's office spokesman said the woman was initially unresponsive but is expected to recover, while the driver of the pickup sustained more serious injuries.

"He's in bad shape," the spokesman said.

A call to sheriff's dispatchers shortly before 3 p.m. reported another mishap at the construction zone, about two miles south of Interstate 30.

A woman told communications officers that one of the workers directing traffic told her he'd been struck by a white pickup. He did not initially indicate he was injured, but later complained of leg pain. Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services and state troopers were summoned to the scene, assisted by Cumby and Hopkins County firemen.

Motorists are reminded to slow down and be extremely cautious when passing through any highway work zone, and to watch for both the workers and heavy equipment in the area.

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