Concerns for road construction worker safety grows after deadly I-94 crash

- A day after two construction workers were hit in a deadly crash in Rogers, Minnesota, some people working on our roads are raising concerns about safety.

Brandon Price drove past the crash right after it happened.

“It really hit me hard because my guys are in the industry - could have been any one of my guys out there, could have been me out there,” said Price.

When he heard later that a worker had been killed and another was injured, he says he felt like shouting his message from the mountaintops: Drivers in construction zones need to be safe.

“And it feels like it’s an insurmountable task; I feel like an ant trying to move a mountainside,” said Price.

The Minnesota State Patrol says 13 people have died this year in construction zones, which is the most since 2010 - and the season is far from over.

“They have to focus on what they’re doing and that’s where they have to rely on the public to drive in a safe manner around them,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielson. “We’re basically driving through their office every day and we need to drive in a safe manner, put distractions away.”

Vernon Hedquist, 59, of Pillager, Minn. died in the crash on Tuesday. He was drilling core samples when he was hit by a pickup truck and trailer that had been rear-ended by a bigger truck that failed to slow down. State Patrol believes that driver will be charged.

“These crashes are preventable if drivers do drive safely through construction zones,” said Lt. Nielson.

Price’s work truck has cameras mounted both back and front. To highlight the dangers construction workers face, Price posted a YouTube video from one job site in the Twin Cities where his sub-contracting crew was burying pipes. Over the course of an hour, he captured video of drivers going through the construction cones into their closed lanes and blatantly ignoring signs. Price says he wants drivers to understand lives are always at risk.

“Imagine a Mack truck driving through that office at 80 miles an hour. That’s what we have to contend with,” he said. 

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