Officials urge drivers to be more careful in construction zones - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Officials urge drivers to be more careful in construction zones after 2 recent crashes

There are bright lights, reflective vests and orange cones to alert help drivers see construction workers, but it is still a dangerous environment. (Source: Byron Thomas/WAFB) There are bright lights, reflective vests and orange cones to alert help drivers see construction workers, but it is still a dangerous environment. (Source: Byron Thomas/WAFB)
GONZALES, LA (WAFB) -

Officials are urging drivers to exercise caution in construction zones after a deadly crash and a hit and run that left a road crew worker seriously hurt.

Roadwork continued Wednesday on LA 30 west of the Tanger Outlets in Gonzales, which is not far from where a deadly crash happened Tuesday night. The bright lights, reflective vests and cones are all meant to protect workers. Unfortunately, it remains a dangerous environment for them.

Can you imagine cars zooming by your work area at high speeds? That's the reality for construction workers on Louisiana roads.

"That's where they work," said Tpr. Jared Sandifer with Louisiana State Police. "They have job duties out there and it's a very dangerous situation when you have traffic moving through those zones."

Those zones are in lots of places and many projects in Louisiana are done at night when traffic is slower, but the darkness only adds another obstacle. Law enforcement officers say it is that vital drivers pay attention to any signs, road cones or other markers.

"Obviously, at night, that visibility is going to be limited. Those signs are going to be bright. You're going to have lights out there, construction equipment. You're going to have unexpected construction equipment maybe coming in and out of your lane of traffic. You're going to have workers out there. It's just a lot harder to see out there," Sandifer explained.

In the past two weeks, there have been two separate accidents in construction zones along LA 30. The first was a hit and run crash that left construction worker Fredrick Mitchell, 38, of Baton Rouge, seriously injured. He is still in the hospital, but is listed in good condition. Investigators are still looking for the driver. The most recent accident happened Tuesday night and took the life of Kirt Canova, 42, of Donaldsonville. Troopers said he was driving though the construction zone and hit a parked dump truck head-on. Both crashes have officials urging drivers to slow down.

"When you approach that construction zone, reduce that speed. Speed is lowered for a reason and the main reason is there are a lot of times workers," Sandifer added.

The hit and run crash that left Mitchell injured happened on LA 30 near LA 73 in the Geismar area on November 21 around 11:45 p.m. It is believed a white or silver newer model Ford Mustang may have been the type of vehicle involved. Investigators reported the car may have damage on the driver's side and is possibly missing its left side mirror.

Troopers stated witnesses told them the driver may have been a man and there may have been a woman in the passenger seat.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call LSP Troop A at 225-754-8500 or their local law enforcement agency.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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