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Mobile drivers ignore construction zone warnings day after worker struck and killed

Mobile drivers ignore construction zone warnings day after worker struck and killed (img: WPMI)
Mobile drivers ignore construction zone warnings day after worker struck and killed (img: WPMI)

A local construction employee’s death is highlighting major safety risks workers face every day.

Clay Crutcher was struck and killed Wednesday morning by a driver who went inside a marked off construction zone on Dauphin Island Parkway.

Crutcher's bosses say drivers are disregarding work zones constantly and something’s got to change

NBC 15 went to work zones Thursday to dig deeper.

On Schillinger Road, there's not only cones but a cement barrier to keep cars away from workers. Even with all of that, NBC 15 still spotted drivers ignoring instructions.

There are warnings all around –- the speed limit is 35 with fines doubled if you're caught disobeying the law,

However, these signs are not stopping drivers repeatedly at the Schillinger Road construction zone.

John G. Walton Construction Company's Vice President Roger Dixon says drivers' need for speed and disregard for construction zone cones terrifies him.

“It’s terrible, I stay awake at night,” Dixon said, adding “I have crews working at night on Interstate 10. We’ve had four collisions on our equipment in the middle of the night. Something’s got to be done.”

NBC 15 interviewed Dixon Wednesday at the scene where employee Clay Crutcher was just hit and killed by a car driving in a construction zone.

You'd think a crime scene, orange cones, construction and police cars would keep drivers in check....Dixon saw otherwise.

“I’ve seen two more cars going in the wrong lane here in the last five minutes and that’s just the way it happens,” Dixon said.

Dixon says something's got to change or innocent construction employee's will continue to die.

“They’re trying to make a living to support their families and just every day it’s like they’re running a gauntlet,” Dixon said.

Valerie Greenhouse lives along the DIP construction zone where Crutcher was killed. She's witnessed people ignoring the cones too

“I’ve seen people run over them, they have them blocked off where you have to say on one side but for some reason everyone’s in a hurry,” Greenhouse said.

Greenhouse and Dixon want more drivers to think less about rushing and more about sparing lives by following the law.

“We all need to be more compassionate,” Greenhouse said.

The owners of John G. Walton construction company fought to create a law after losing their own son in a construction zone.

In 2017, Governor Kay Ivey signed the Marshall James Walton Highway Safety Act making vehicular homicide a class c felony punishable with one to 9 years in prison.