19 lives lost in construction zones in the last year


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Staff report

AUSTINTOWN

Nineteen cones stood at a Thursday morning Ohio Department of Transportation event to represent 19 lives lost in construction zones in the last year.

“Slow Down and Move Over” welcomed members of the public, first responders, construction workers, tow truck drivers and more to an event dedicated to spreading awareness about safety in construction zones and on the highways and freeways.

“The purpose is to protect everyone who works on roads and those traveling on roads,” said John Picuri, ODOT District 4 deputy director.

The message is simple: “slow down and move over for road workers,” Picuri said.

One of the 19 cones was dressed in avest for John Pasko,

Pasko was killed March 16 after an SUV traveling south on the interstate hit him. Pasko was part of an ODOT brush clearing crew under the Market Street Bridge.

That cone, Picuri said, is a sobering reminder of the cause.

But the cones serve the challenge, said ODOT Director Jerry Wray, “to get people to become aware of what’s going on out on the road.”

Kenny Robinson, Mahoning County post Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, and Andy Jackson, Ashtabula County highway technician, shared their stories of both near misses and actual accidents that could’ve killed them.

“Pay attention and you’ll save the world a lot of pain and heartache,” Wray said.

Picuri reiterated that slowing down and moving over isn’t a courtesy, it’s Ohio law and “the right thing to do.”

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