WOODLAWN, Md. (WJZ) — It's happened again. Another state highway employee is killed while doing his job. He is the fifth worker hit along the highway in just over a year.
Meghan McCorkell has the growing concern that drivers just aren't paying enough attention.
Police have now identified the worker that was killed as John Kahl of Port Deposit. He was a subcontractor for the State Highway Administration.
"The men and women of SHA offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Mr. Kahl. Our contractors are an extension of our SHA team and we are truly saddened by this tragedy," said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. "With yet another person killed while working along a Maryland highway today, we are solemnly reminded that every driver should remain alert and careful to keep workers safe."
Investigators say Kahl, 54,was part of a crew clearing trees on the side of I-695 near Liberty Road. He was standing in the right shoulder when a pickup truck slammed right into him.
"This incident, we don't know why it happened. It appears that the truck just swerved off for no reason," said Sgt. Marc Black with Maryland State Police.
Police are now interviewing witnesses to the accident.
"There were a few people that were in the truck that were also right there when it happened," said David Buck, SHA spokesperson.
At least five state highway workers have now been killed on the job since last January.
Just two months ago, Eddie Gilyard, 50, died on 695 near Bel Air Road. He was repairing a road sign when a car veered onto the shoulder and hit him.
In June, Eric Meekins, 40, was placing cones along Route 216 in Howard County when he was killed by a car.
A vehicle struck and killed two workers in Cecil County last January. Victor Jackson, 41, and Luis Tadeo, 42, were both working in a clearly marked construction area.
"It just takes one quick moment like that and the next thing you know we have a tragedy like this," said Buck.
Now police are issuing a warning to drivers:
"We want to make sure that everybody knows not to be distracted, to pay attention to the roadway and understand that they're in control of that vehicle," Black said.
It's a precaution that could prevent tragedy.
Charges are pending against the driver in Friday's accident.
Police have identified the driver of that pickup truck as 54-year-old Brian Seitz of Marriottsville.
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