BY BRYNA ZUMER, firstname.lastname@example.org
6:26 PM EST, January 9, 2013
Two highway workers were killed in a Route 40 work zone near Perryville on Wednesday morning, Maryland State Police said.
The driver of a 2006 Ford Focus entered the highway work zone area near Belvidere Road at about 9 a.m. and struck the workers, according to a State Police media release.
The workers who were killed have been identified as Luis E. Tadeo, 42, of the 1500 block of Palai Turn in Bowie, and Victor D. Jackson, 41, of the 5500 block of Hunt Place N.E. in Washington, D.C. They worked for a State Highway Administration contractor, the SHA said.
Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel from Cecil County, State Police said.
The name of the driver, a man, had not been released by late Wednesday afternoon.
"He was taken into custody for questioning. He was released without charges and is not being identified at this time due to pending charges," a State Police spokesman said. "He was not injured."
It is not known why the car entered the work zone and it is not known how fast the car was traveling, according State Police, who said the accident remains under investigation.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Marc Black said the Focus was traveling in the westbound lane when it veered into the work zone. The crash scene is about two miles east of Perryville.
The work zone was marked off with orange traffic cones and other safety equipment, he said.
State Highway Administration officials responded the scene and closed Pulaski Highway to westbound traffic in the Belvidere Road area for several hours.
The Cecil County State's Attorney's Office was also notified, State Police said.
According to the State Highway Administration, the area along Route 40 where the accident occurred is part of a project to improve storm water management and water quality.
Workers were in the process of placing barrels as part of the traffic management for Wednesday's work, when Jackson and Tadeo were killed.
"The men and women of SHA offer our condolences to the Jackson and Tadeo families, their friends and co-workers," State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters said in a media release. "As partners in the highway industry, we view contractors' employees as extensions of our own SHA team and are deeply saddened by the loss of these two men."
"This tragedy underscores the ever-present danger to roadway workers and we remind drivers of their role in keeping workers safe – it begins with driving attentively and reducing speeds," Peters added.
It is critical that motorists remember that work zone safety is everyone's business and that work zones require every driver's full attention. Lives of both workers and motorists are at stake. At any time, there may be hundreds of active work zones around the State. This incident occurred along US 40 as part of a project to improve storm water management and water quality. Workers were in the process of placing barrels as part of the traffic management for today's work.
According to the SHA, there were three people killed and 688 people injured in 2011 in work zone-related crashes in Maryland. Nationally, more 1,000 people are killed in work zone related crashes, the agency said, noting that the majority of those killed, four out of five, were motorists or passengers – not workers.
The SHA reminds motorists to stay alert for workers, and learn the location of active work zones by consulting http://www.roads.maryland.gov.
Anyone with information regarding Wednesday's accident is asked to contact the Maryland State Police, Northeast Barrack, at 410-996-7800.