Massachusetts highway workers have a hazardous job. They perform maintenance, inspections and construction, often just a few feet from traffic whizzing by. In work zones the Department of Transportation prioritizes the safety of its contractors and employees, as well as motorists traveling through these areas. Sadly, the DOT's precautions were not enough to save one of its inspectors, a 58-year-old engineer killed on a September night in 2010. A drunk driver hit him in a construction area on Route 9 in Framingham. The area was marked off with reflective cones and barrels while the inspector checked pavement temperatures as a quality control measure.
The details of the accident were brought afresh into the minds of the victim's friends and family when the driver was recently sentenced to eight years imprisonment and seven years probation on charges of drunk driving, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of the accident. After hitting the inspector, the drunk driver's vehicle collided with an oil truck in the construction area and stalled. The driver and his passenger, also intoxicated, left their vehicle and tried to run away, but were chased and caught by members of the road construction crew. When confronted by police, the 29-year-old driver was too intoxicated even to follow their order to stand up. Drivers who get behind the wheel in such a condition pose a grave danger to everyone on the highway.
The driver had a history of violations in Massachusetts, dating back to a suspended license in 2001 for drug possession and transporting liquor as a minor. He was arrested in 2003 for operating a motor vehicle under the influence and his license was suspended again. After the 2010 fatal accident, his license remains suspended indefinitely.
Along with jail time and probation, the driver has also been sentenced to perform a thousand hours of community service. The state's punishment for his crimes may give the victim's family some closure, but does not directly compensate them for the loss of a husband and father. Pursuing a civil claim against the driver in court is an option that could result in an award of monetary damages to acknowledge and help make up for the loss of the victim's contributions to his family.
Source: CBS Boston, "Man Sentenced For 2010 Drunk Driving Crash That Killed Highway Worker," March 27, 2012