On July 31, at about 2:30 in the afternoon, the VDOT employee was headed west on State Route 460 in a backhoe. Now, an employee of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is dead following a commercial vehicle accident in Oakwood. A semi-truck accident resulted after a tractor-trailer struck the machine.

Backhoes are a common element at construction sites around the state, and are used to dig various types of ditches or trenches. Of course, like most pieces of heavy machinery, they are unable to move quickly out of the way of other vehicles. As a result, backhoes and their operators are especially vulnerable to tractor-trailer accidents and other tragedies.

According to a sergeant for the Virginia State Police, the amber warning lights on the rear of the backhoe were functioning when the incident occurred. The truck’s driver, just 25 years old, told police he was trying to change lanes when the crash brought both men’s working days to a screeching halt.

Another car happened to be in the other lane, noted the truck driver, and he wound up rear-ending the backhoe instead.

Responders to the scene rushed the VDOT worker to Clinch Valley Medical Center, but unfortunately the man succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

State police are still investigating the fatal event, and the Motor Carrier Unit and Accident Reconstruction Team plan a more thorough probe in the near future.

On August 7, Virginia authorities charged a different truck driver for reckless driving in an accident that closed all lanes on Interstate 95 in Caroline County. Thankfully, no injuries resulted, although power lines fell over the busy stretch of roadway.

Whether they run into backhoes or power lines, trucks can turn an otherwise peaceful stretch of road into a hazardous thoroughfare in no time. Thankfully, the penalties for reckless driving help ensure justice. In Virginia, reckless truck drivers that pass incorrectly can have convictions on their records for over 10 years.

Source: TriCities.com, “Buchanan County VDOT worker killed in crash,” Allie Robinson, Aug. 1, 2012