WVDOH honors its fallen workers who have served in their line of work

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — To honor fallen workers who gave their lives while on the job, 58 orange highway cones stand at the West Virginia Division of Highway (WVDOH) Fallen Worker Memorial in Williamstown, each topped with an orange safety vest and a white hardhat.

Flagger killed in Jefferson County work zone

Located at Interstate 77 Welcome Center in Wood County, the cones will remain in place there until Monday, April 29, 2024. This is to remind the public of the importance of work zone safety and the consequences that come with with it.

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, a WVDOH road worker setting up traffic signals at in accident that occurred in Clarksburg was hit by a car and was critically injured. A couple days later, on Friday, March 29, 2024, a WVDOH worker in Braxton County was patching potholes on Interstate 79 and was hit by a distracted driver. Fortunately, that worker came out of it with only minor injuries.

A flagger for A.L.L. was tragically killed when a distracted driver failed to stop in a work zone on US 340 in Jefferson County. This event followed soon after occurring on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

“The worker did everything right. She had an escape plan, she tried to utilize her escape plan and still ended up being struck by the vehicle,” said West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E.

“We’ve got to pay attention in these work zones,” Wriston said.

In 2023, there were 800 crashes that occurred in West Virginia work zones alone, which resulted in five people being killed. In 389 of those crashes, transportation workers were present in the work zone.

Photo Courtesy: WVDOT
Photo Courtesy: WVDOT

In 2017, the Fallen Worker Memorial was recognized and dedicated to those who have fallen in their line of duty.

“When I got that call in the hotel, emotions overwhelmed me,” said Jake Bumgarner, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of Special Program. Emotions overcame him when he realized that one of his co-workers and friend, Randy Bland, had died while working his job.

The memorials display the names of these 58 workers:

  • Susan Custer

  • Ellis Ogden

  • Robert Lilly

  • Oscar Maynard

  • Millard Mcatte

  • Luke Simpicio

  • Timothy Cox

  • John Murphy

  • Arthur Coulter

  • Roy Vanscoy

  • Robert Kanode

  • Victor Abbington

  • Chester DeLong

  • Robert Pritt

  • Dennis Neely Jr.

  • Robert Fleece Jr.

  • Paul B. Kyle

  • Frederick Sponaugle

  • John Poland

  • Glen Shrewsbury

  • John Townsend

  • James Galloway Jr.

  • Francis Doran

  • Joseph Chetork

  • Edwin Logston

  • David Earliwine

  • Eli Blankenship Jr.

  • Wetzel L. Bias

  • Terry L. Webb

  • William D. Cook

  • Steven L. Oldaker

  • Jack Sharps

  • Roger E. Skinner

  • Stephen M. Cogar

  • Rickie H. Sanders

  • John A. Moat

  • Randall W. Bland

  • Glenn F. Lough

  • Charles E. Himelrick Jr.

  • Ralph W. Swisher

  • Fernard J. Reto

  • Richard Johnson

  • Jack A. Williams

  • Forrest A. Raynes

  • Okie Riser

  • Timothy E. Booth

  • Okey Dean

  • Edward Arnold

  • James H. Watts

  • Harold Sherr

  • Johnny L. Wilson

  • Stephen A. Herold

  • Nelson E. Ingram

  • Benjamin Harris

  • Eugene Sullivan

  • John D. Greenwide

  • Morris Hansford

Photo Courtesy: WVDOT
Photo Courtesy: WVDOT

WVDOH worker recovering after being hit by a car

On Wednesday, April 24, 2024, The WVDOH is planning on having a memorial service for those have fallen in their line of duty. This event will be at 1:00 P.M. at the Workers Memorial.

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