Multiple TDOT work trucks hit on Middle Tennessee roadways in 48-hour period

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Over a 48-hour span, at least 2 TDOT contracted work trucks were struck by speeding vehicles on the interstate. Thankfully, none of the work crews were seriously injured.

Now, TDOT is reminding motorists to slow down, move over and pay more attention while driving.

According to TDOT, since 2016, three TDOT workers have died doing their jobs. Just this week, two trucks have been hit and the workers are lucky to be alive.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tuesday night a Ford pickup slammed into the back of a work truck on I-40 near Briley Parkway.

A worker, contracted by TDOT to do striping work, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is taken to a local hospital.

Pictures obtained by News 2 showed the safety device in the rear of the truck had been crushed. The safety device is called an “attenuator,” and it took the brunt of the collision as it is designed to.

“If it is hit, it slows down the crash or impact. It lessens that impact,” said Rebekah Hammonds — TDOT community relations officer.

On Monday morning, there was another dangerous close call with a TDOT contracted work crew. This wreck took place on Saturn Parkway in Spring Hill.

“I just stopped and got our attenuator down and our message board up,” one worker told police at the scene.

The officer asked if the truck was already on the side of the road and stopped.

“Yes sir,” the worker said.

According to Spring Hill Police Department, 24-year-old Conner Warhurst of Alabama caused the serious wreck.

In the bodycam video, you can hear the officer asking the driver who is not wearing shoes if he is okay. The Alabama driver replied he was not hurt.

The officer asked him for a license and the driver handed over an ID card but told the investigator his license was suspended.

“So you don’t have a license?,” the officer asked.

According to the police report, Warhurst admitted to looking down at his phone while driving highway speeds on Saturn Parkway.

The passenger side of his Nissan Rogue was destroyed, and the airbag activated. The driver side of the three-ton work truck also suffered extensive damage.

On the officer’s bodycam video, you can see the investigator move to the rear of the work truck and look at the activated sign which was still flashing a move-over arrow.

“Those lights are on. I’m going to charge him with the move-over law,” the officer said.

The officer told another arriving officer what happened and how lucky it was that the other workers who were out of the truck did not get hit.

“The other workers out are out here getting ready to do construction. They are parked right there and he veered off the road and rammed them,” the officer said.

The driver was issued citations in lieu of arrest, meaning he will have to return to Maury County at a later date and turn himself in on the charges.

“We are simply asking you to take the time while you are driving and pay attention and slow down,” Hammonds said. “Our crews have families to go home to. Just like you. You are trying to get to work, to your kids, to your family. Our crews want the same thing.”

Hammonds added the lane closures and safety measures are in place for everyone while work crews patch and fix roads.

“We do this to protect you and if you just work with us, we can keep everyone safer on the road. So those critical moments can really make the difference.”

Conner Warhurst received five state violations that include:

  • Failure to exercise due car
  • violation of Tennessee’s move over law
  • driving on a suspended license out of Alabama.

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No reason was given why his license was suspended in 2017. He was also cited for not having insurance.

As far as the pick-up driver that crushed the attenuator on the back of the work vehicle on I-40, neither THP nor MNPD has a record of being dispatched to the call Tuesday night.

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