Freak Accident Highlights Construction Zone Dangers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/6/04

Freak Accident Highlights Construction Zone Dangers

At first the image does not cause alarm. A man in the passenger seat of a sedan - immobilized, but conscious. Then the reality sinks in of what it is you're actually seeing. A man impaled from the tip of his chin to the back of his neck. Toddrick Thomas, seriously wounded, but lucid.

"This is just the kind of thing we've been fearing was going to happen," said LPD Sgt. Ronnie Sowell.

12:45 Thursday morning. The Eastbound access road just before Slide - a construction zone. A confused driver thinks he's in an on-ramp lane for the loop. Instead, it is a makeshift depository for 1/2 inch, solid steel, reinforcement bars. The impact turns the rebar into deadly barbs. Easily piercing the undercarriage of the car and passenger Toddrick Thomas.

"And the rebar entered the front of his face and exiting the back of his neck. Fortunately it missed any vital tissues and organs and of course it missed his spinal cord, so he's very, very, fortunate in that regard," said Sgt. Sowell.

"My fiance wouldn't let me look," said Elizabeth Arscott. She heard the horrific crash, and said a substantial burden of blame lies with the construction company. "I want it to be known that these cones were not out here. It's not obvious which lane is open and which lane is not," she said.

But authorities found no fault with the way the site is maintained. "The signage in this construction zone to my knowledge is more than adequate for the driving public that's driving prudently," said Sgt. Sowell.

Which brings us back to the very real danger of driving near construction zones. Images which may not cause alarm until it's too late. "And let me reinforce it's going to get worse before it gets better, and its simply because of the construction," said Sgt. Sowell.

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