Maryland Remembers Workers Killed in Crashes During Work Zone Awareness Week

April 17, 2024
Speakers urge more caution around construction work zones

Maryland is the host for National Work Zone Awareness Week this year. On Tuesday, state leaders gathered together to remind drivers to be safe around work zones.

To commemorate the week, Lt. Gov. Aruna Millers, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) secretary Paul Wiedefeld, State Highway Administrator Will Pines, and others spoke at the event.

The message from all of the speakers was very clear: Be more cautious around construction work zones.

Robert Lewis, an SHA worker, talked about a close call he had in 2023 while working in one of those zones in Frederick County.

"I got out of my truck and the next thing I see is car parts flying through the air," Lewis said. "I ducked, jumped over the guardrail, and when I turned around the bed of a dump truck was six inches away from my head."

The event happened near the same work zone on Interstate 695 where six construction workers were killed by a speeding car crashing through a gap.

The crash happened on Mar. 22, 2023, and the two drivers were criminally charged.

Maryland State Police identified the six contract workers who were killed as Rolando Ruiz, 46, of Laurel; Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, 43, of Frederick; Jose Armando Escobar, 52, of Frederick; Mahlon Simmons III, 31, of Union Bridge; Mahlon Simmons II, 52, of Union Bridge; and Sybil Lee Dimaggio, 46, of Glen Burnie.

In response to that crash, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore called for the creation of the Work Zone Safety Work Group, which Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller chairs.

The workgroup helped create a new state law that gets more automated speed cameras in work zones, as well as increased the fines for drivers.

A work zone safety unity ride began along I-695 that had approximately 350 cars participating. MDOT officials hosted the procession in recognition of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Officials said the procession was to travel at the posted speed and drivers should expect brief ramp closures for the event.


Source: CBS News


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