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Highway Construction Worker Hit, Killed

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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One highway construction worker died and another was injured critically after a driver hit them in an Interstate 94 work zone during the early hours of Sunday (Oct. 11) morning.

Michigan State Police said Rafael Castillo-Saavedra was pronounced dead at the scene, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press. The driver of the 1999 Chevrolet who hit him also was killed in the crash.

A second construction worker, whose name was not released, was taken to a local hospital where he remained in critical condition on Tuesday (Oct. 13).

Overnight Sealing Work

According to the Free Press, Castillo-Saavedra and the other worker were performing tasks related to “crack sealing” when the driver of the Chevrolet him them and a parked construction vehicle in a closed lane.

Police did not know what caused the driver to travel into the closed construction lane, according to multiple media reports.

©iStock.com / AlexanderNovikov

Police in Michigan say one highway construction worker was hit by a vehicle and killed and another was injured critically while performing overnight "crack sealing" on Interstate 94.

Media reports did not name the company for which either employee worked, but an official with the Michigan Department of Transportation said it contracts to local companies for highway maintenance projects.

MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross told the Free Press that the workers were using a rubberized product that is sprayed into cracks in the road to protect them from water and debris. The work often is done at night or on weekends when traffic is light, Cross said.

‘Tragic Reminder’

The Detroit News printed a statement from the Michigan Laborers’ District Council following the crash.

“On behalf of the 12,000 members of the Michigan Laborers, we extend our condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Rafael,” said Geno Alessandrini, business manager of the Michigan Laborers’ District Council.

“This tragic event is another reminder of how dangerous construction work is on a daily basis. Safety at the work site is of the utmost importance and we can all do our part to make sure workers who perform critical work in these dangerous situations make it home to their families.”

‘Trying to Make a Living’

A local ABC affiliate in Detroit said that Castillo-Saavedra was a Mexican laborer who was working in the U.S. on a green card.

“He was just trying to make a living for his family, to send back home to his family—his brothers and his mother,” Castillo-Saaverda’s step-daughter, Guadalupe Sanchez, told WXYZ. “Now we have to break the news to them.

“It’s a risky job and the guys are out there for a reason—to make a living,” Sanchez continued. “Some of them make means the best way they know how. That’s just how. Sweating, working, not everybody wants to do that job, but you have to do what you have to do to support your family.”

   

Tagged categories: Construction; Department of Transportation (DOT); Fatalities; Health & Safety; Infrastructure; North America; Roads/Highways

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