April 21, 2011
Two Tollway Members Injured in Deadly Crash on I-294
Teamsters Local 700 members and Tollway workers Pat Beck and Kevin Spurling were injured in two separate car crashes on inbound I-294 on Tuesday, April 12. A third member, Andre Strong, was also assisting at the scene when the accident occurred, though he walked away unharmed.
"It was like a scene out of a movie," said Strong. "There was no way to give the guys any warning…it was one of the loudest things I've ever heard."
Strong, Beck and Spurling drove to the scene of a minor car accident on 294 in the left lane. The car was blocking part of the lane, so the three workers parked the Tollway channel truck to block the left lane, making sure to turn on flashers and an arrow board. Strong was picking up debris and Beck and Spurling were in the truck when a van traveling between 75 and 80 miles per hour struck the truck from behind.
"The van pushed the truck into the next lane and it got sideswiped by a semi truck," said Strong. "They were pushed all the way to the opposite shoulder."
Beck, Spurling and the semi truck driver all walked away without major injuries, though the driver of the van was killed in the crash.
"The 'caution' signs set up around work crews aren't for decoration, they protect our members as well as all drivers," said John T. Coli, Local 700 Trustee. "People need to realize that these people aren't just putting in a hard day's work – they're literally putting their life on the line."
While Beck returned to work this week and Spurling will likely return next week, all three men were shaken by the entirely avoidable accident.
"People just need to pay attention," said Strong. "That guy who hit them? There were no brake marks – he just wasn't paying attention. He lost his life and he didn't have to."
Becky Strzechowski, President
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Monday, May 13, 2013