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Five years since highway workers killed, Police stress importance of safety in work zones

Posted at 10:08 PM, May 09, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been five years since two highway workers were killed along I-69 near Castleton. Safety officials say drivers need to hear this warning to slow down in work zones — now, more than ever.

It's hard to forget the scene that day; the traffic backed up for miles and the loved ones that families lost.

The two men — Coty DeMoss, 24, and Kenneth Duerson, 49 — were killed while removing construction barriers at the end of a work zone. The driver is now serving time behind bars.

"You've got to realize that there are a lot of people with families that are working on those projects," Pete Rimsans, Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council, said. "And sometimes there's just a barrier between them and a vehicle that should be going 45 but it's actually going 70 mph, and it's quite dangerous."

Rimsans says on average three to four construction workers will be hit and killed each year in Indiana.

"If you're a construction worker out there all the time, it's ten times as dangerous as it used to be," Rimsans said.

The barrier walls that separate traffic from workers are movable, they're not mounted to the ground, so a car traveling fast could easily crash into one, and it wouldn't protect someone from being killed.

"What I see a lot of is selfish drivers," Sgt. John Perrine, Indiana State Police, said. "People that are only worried about getting to their destinations as quickly as possible, and anything else is an inconvenience, and I think that by itself creates aggressive drivers."

If drivers are caught speeding in a work zone, each county has different fine amounts that range from $200 to $500 for the first offense.

"The common excuse is, 'I couldn't move over,' or, 'I didn't see you in time.' But they're not valid excuses," Sgt. Perrine said.

State police say this goes far beyond the law. This is about one human being courteous of another.

"It's just not that important enough to kill somebody," Sgt. Perrine said.

In Indiana, drivers who fatally injure a worker in a road construction zone can face a felony charge with up to eight years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The State Building Construction and Trades Council says they're pushing lawmakers to add cameras and more signage in construction zones.

The Illinois Department of Transportation uses some to deter speeders.