ODOT: Safety procedures followed in Thursday’s I-680 crash
By Joe Gorman
State officials say they think all safety procedures were followed Thursday after a worker who was part of a brush-clearing crew on Interstate 680 was killed after he was hit by an SUV.
Erica Hawkins, deputy director of communications for Ohio Department of Transportation, said Friday, however, if a city police investigation finds any flaws in the crew’s procedures ODOT will investigate, but she added it appears all safety rules were followed.
“At this point, we don’t think that was the case [that precautions weren’t taken],” Hawkins said.
Killed in the accident about 12:35 p.m. Thursday in the southbound lanes of the highway was worker John Pasko, who was part of the crew that was clearing brush.
Police said an SUV driven by Daniel Bondi, 73, somehow hit Pasko, who was underneath the Market Street overpass.
Police said Bondi may have had a medical emergency before the accident, but Friday they were releasing few details on the accident. Bondi was taken by ambulance after the accident to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where he remained late Friday.
It appeared that Bondi’s SUV also struck a wood chipper. Paramedics had a white sheet over the front of the SUV and part of the wood chipper Thursday shielding Pasko’s body from onlookers.
Police would not comment Friday, except to say an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the crash. Investigators did say it appears that neither alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident.
Hawkins said the last time an ODOT worker was killed on the job was in 2013, when a worker operating a backhoe on the side of the road on Interstate 71 in Delaware County died after the backhoe was struck by a tractor-trailer whose driver fell asleep at the wheel.
Steve Schenck, a friend of Pasko’s, said he worked with Pasko back in the 1990s at a mapping company in Lisbon doing aerial photography. He said although he has not kept in touch with Pasko for some time, he was still heartbroken when he heard the news.
“This is horrible,” Schenck said. “He was a wonderful person. He is going to be missed by a lot of people.”