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Crashes involving county highway trucks concern county officials

By Jessica Arp, jarp@wisctv.com
Published On: May 01 2014 06:52:04 PM CDT
Updated On: May 01 2014 10:09:08 PM CDT

Dane County officials are reminding drivers to move over or slow down in construction zones, after two close calls in the last two days.

MADISON, Wis. -

Dane County officials are reminding drivers to move over or slow down in construction zones, after two close calls in the last two days.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 90 about two miles south of the Beltline were closed after a crash reported at 9:05 a.m. Both lanes remained closed for more than an hour when traffic was allowed to use the right lane. The incident was cleared after noon.

State Patrol officials said a driver of an SUV hit the back of a Dane County Highway truck, then veered back into traffic and hit a Toyota Prius.

"We do know that the female that was driving the jeep this morning did lose control of the vehicle," Sgt. Greg Jenswold said.

The highway workers were outside the vehicle and working in the shoulder at the time of the crash, and were uninjured.

A crash on the Beltline at Todd Drive Wednesday left one highway worker injured when a vehicle rear-ended a truck with a move-over arrow.

Dane County officials said Thursday that it left the workers shaken.

"They were very sad, very distraught," said Dane County Highway Commissioner Jerry Mandli. "They realize when they come back to work they're going to go back out and do this again. [They were] very upset. Why can't people see us? We have flashing lights, we have warning equipment, why don't they heed the warnings to move over?"

There were construction zone cones on the road in the area of the crash.

It is law that drivers must move over for highway work or emergency response in the roads, which can be a life or death matter.

"Jerry didn't say it but I think it's on everybody's mind that we lost a county employee not many years ago to inattentive driving," Sheriff Dave Mahoney said. "That is in the minds of all our workers who are doing their duties on the roadways."

Mahoney said he will step up county enforcement on the Move Over Law, and county officials remind it about the safety of everyone.

"Folks who work out there are literally risking their lives, be it doing maintenance, road repair or creating new highways, so please exercise caution when you are on the roadways," Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said.

It's unknown why the driver of the SUV in Thursday's crash hit the highway truck. State Patrol officials said she was in surgery Thursday afternoon at UW Hospital.

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