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Accident shows dangers of driving in construction zones

A tragic accident in Sullivan County last week shows how hazardous it can be to be in a construction zone, and not just for drivers. While motorists must be aware of nearby equipment and particularly the workers operating the equipment, construction workers also need to keep an eye out for their own safety.

The car accident happened on Highway 75 near Sam Gammon Road. In the area there is a highway expansion project, where construction crews are widening the road in Washington and Sullivan counties, according to

A little after 3 p.m. on a recent afternoon, a woman driving a 1997 Honda Accord reportedly collided with a construction worker who was carrying a 15-foot pipe on his shoulder. The pipe apparently obscured his vision and he did not see the vehicle coming.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the 49-year-old man died from his injuries. The man, who was from Hampton, worked for Summers Taylor Inc., whose crews were performing the road widening.

After performing an investigation, the THP reportedly decided not to file charges against the woman because the worker walked into the path of her vehicle while his vision was obstructed by the pipe.

The driver was not injured in the accident.

In construction zones, it's always best to use caution and slow down to directed speed limits. In cases like this, a driver might not be able to avoid an accident, but the risk of injury is definitely lowered when traveling at a lower speed.

Source:, "Update: No charges will be filed against driver in Hwy 75 construction worker death," George Jackson and Josh Smith, Feb. 9, 2012

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