By Kathy Jefcoats
A surveyor on a crew working the construction site on Interstate 75 at Hudson Bridge/Eagle's Landing was taken by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital after being hit by a pickup truck Tuesday afternoon.
The unidentified man was trapped under the commercial truck, owned by MetroPower, for a short period of time before being extricated and airlifted out of the area.
Georgia State Patrol Trooper Mack Ward said the truck driver, whom he would not identify, is charged with following too closely.
"There could possibly be more charges depending on the condition of the driver," said Ward. "Right now, we're just marking the scene and checking on the condition of the driver."
Ward said if the accident proves fatal, the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team will investigate.
"But it seems pretty cut and dried to me, what happened," he said.
Ward said the truck driver was in the middle of three lanes traveling southbound approaching the Hudson Bridge exit when he changed lanes to the left. He struck a white van in the rear before veering off the highway, onto the shoulder and off into the median.
In doing so, the driver ran over a man doing survey work along the side of the highway. No one else was injured.
Ward said he did not know what caused the driver to change lanes but said excessive speed is not yet considered a factor.
"I don't think it was excessive speed so far but it is still under investigation," said Ward.
Bert Brantley, spokesman for Georgia Department of Transportation, said the victim is a subcontractor, not a state DOT worker. He said the accident is a perfect example of why drivers need to pay attention in work zones.
"It is so crucial that people slow down, avoid distractions and pay attention when entering work zones," said Brantley. "This kind of thing happens all too often."
Brantley said paying attention is even more critical in Henry County, the site of two major DOT projects n the Hudson Bridge/Eagle's Landing work and the redesigning of the Square in the city of McDonough.
"On the Square, you've got nighttime work because of the volume of traffic coming through there," he said. "But the risk is higher because it is being done at night. At the end of the day, it's all about being more careful."
Work in the Hudson Bridge area will not be affected by the accident.
"Certainly we're concerned about the young man and his injuries but we are on an extremely aggressive construction schedule," said Brantley. "This area is a choke point we want to get relieved. The work will go on."