March 26, 2015

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Northeast District

Watching Out For Each Other

Close Call in Work Zone
Crews work with emergency responders and law enforcement to clean up after a crash in a work zone on Route NN in Clark County.  Fortunately, no one was injured.

Route NN in Clark County is a two-lane rural road with long site distance. It's flat. It's straight. It has low traffic volume.

One sunny, clear day, the unexpected happened. The MoDOT truck in the work zone had its lights and strobes on.  Veteran crew worker Linley Lipper had shut off the loud diesel truck so he could listen to a radio program while he and Kolt Kiger were pothole patching along the road.

The man driving the pickup was going fishing, probably like he had done for many of his 80 years of life. He had his seat belt on and was driving about 55 mph. He just didn't see the work zone, plain and simple.

Thankfully, Linley saw him coming at them quickly. About 60 feet before impact, Linley yelled at the top of his lungs at Kolt, who saw what was happening and without a second to spare, jumped into the ditch.

"If that truck would have been on, I don't know if they would have heard the pickup approaching," said Maintenance Superintendent Ferdie Dames.

Dames prays for the safety of his crews every morning; he has openly shared this at his employee meetings. "I don't even want to think about what could have happened if just one thing would have been different at that time," Dames said. "The man's truck was totaled, but thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident."

Linley and Kolt were pretty shaken up after the incident, as were their fellow crew members. To ensure the safety of our ourselves and those around us, we always have to be ready for the unexpected. "We are just so grateful they were watching out for each other and did what they were trained to do," Dames added.

Working Towards Zero Fatalities
Shelby County Presentation
Pictured above are the individuals present for the Shelby County presentation.  Shelby County has actually had zero fatalities the last three years.

In 2014, there were no fatalities on the roads in Scotland, Schuyler, Knox and Shelby Counties in the Northeast region.

“We took this as an opportunity to recognize each county and the partners of the Coalition for their efforts and help bring awareness that they are making a difference in lives of those who travel Missouri roads,” said Marisa Ellison, Facilitator for the Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety.

Safety partners, including Sgt. Brent Bernhardt with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, made a brief presentation to the commissioners in each county.

Other partners include the area health departments, hospitals, schools and sheriff’s department. The commissioners were also presented with a poster to display in the courthouse, along with some Coke Zero and Zero candy bars to symbolize zero fatalities.

“We have so many individuals in theses counties working together on the effort of reducing fatalities,” said Ellison. “This effort is enhanced by the motorists that make the decision to put on their seat belts every time they get in the vehicle,” she added. 

While “zero” is a good thing to celebrate in this case, the Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety and its partners recognize there are many counties throughout northeast Missouri who weren't as fortunate. 

“While we had four counties in northeast Missouri who had zero road fatalities in 2014, our goal is to have zero fatalities on all roads not only in our area, but throughout the state,” explained Ellison.

Since the formation of the statewide Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, Missouri fatalities have been reduced to nearly half. 

“We started in 2006 with more than 1200 and we’re down to below 750, which isn’t enough,” Ellison stated.  “We need to continue to work toward zero, and we appreciate all those who take safe driving seriously,” she added.

Around the District...
Barrel Bob in Hannibal   Jeff Gander Interviewing with KTVO
Barrel Bob is seen here proudly standing at the entrance of the Hannibal District Office along U.S. 61 to alert motorists of the importance of paying attention in work zones.   Jeff Gander, resident engineer, was interviewed by KTVO television on Work Zone Awareness. KTVO staff also helped raise awareness by wearing orange on Monday, March 23.
Marisa Ellison talking with New Cambria   Ed Hassinger speaking to KLI Group
Marisa Ellison, customer relations manager, sat down with New Cambria maintenance to talk about Tough Choices Ahead.   On March 17, Ed Hassinger visited the Capitol to speak to the Kirksville Leadership Institute.  The group is organized by the Kirksville Chamber.
KLI Group
Pictured above is the Kirksville Leadership Institute (KLI) group, along with Rep. Nate Walker, that visited the Capitol March 17.  Marisa Christy-Kerns, customer relations, is a member of the group (she is pictured third from the right).

For more info

Marisa Brown-Ellison
Customer Relations Manager
Northeast District


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