HOCKING COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) – Both directions of U.S. 33 are back open after an Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) truck was hit by a van Friday afternoon. The truck was in a work zone when it was hit. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), two ODOT workers and the driver of the van were taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.
The incident happened in the east bound lanes in Hocking County. OSHP troopers say the two ODOT workers were on the back of the pickup truck picking up the cones that were marking off a work zone.
According to investigators, the two workers noticed the van was veering towards their truck so they jumped off before it hit.
“Had the ODOT workers not noticed the van drifting and seeing him hitting the cones prior to them, we’d definitely have probably a double fatal crash here,” said Sgt. Aaron Hayes with OSHP. “If it hadn’t been for their quick reaction we definitely would have had a fatal crash.”
What exactly caused the van driver to drift from his lane and hit the ODOT truck is still under investigation. ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning says the incident serves as a good reminder of the dangers ODOT crews face daily.
“It doesn’t matter what causes these kinds of crashes to happen, it’s always a stark and sobering reminder that the dangers our people face every day are real,” Bruning said. “It’s a good reminder for motorists to do their part to minimize the risks of increasing the chances of a crash from happening.”
He wants people to remember to slow down and move over when in work zones.
“Our people are out there, they have a job to do. And that job is to keep you safe by keeping the roadways safe and in good repair. And really the only thing they want you to do, the only thing they ask the drivers to do is to be responsible, pay attention, slow down, move over,” he said. “If we do those things as drivers, everyone goes home safe at the end of the day and that’s our goal.”
Both directions of U.S. 33 in the area had been shut down for a few hours as crews cleaned up and investigated. Statistics for 2019 are not available yet but according to ODOT, ODOT equipment, vehicles, or people were hit 200 times in 2018.