Highway workers to drivers: Slow down and move over

May 21, 2019 01:59 PM

A nice day for Thruway workers on the Berkshire Spur in March took a sudden turn. 

"I heard screeching tires, I look up and I see the tractor-trailer breaking apart and barreling towards us, and luckily we all just got out of the way," said Thruway employee Lukas Poucher.  "I thought my parents were going to be putting me in the ground that day."


Jay Case pushed Poucher out of the way.  Four people were injured.

Monday, members of that crew joined NYS DOT workers and state police to remind drivers: slow down and move over. 

"There are plenty of times where my guys are down on their hands and knees working on the bridge decks and tractor trailers are flying by and having their hats blow off," said DOT Assistant Bridge Maintenance Engineer Ron Robbins.  

Robbins had a close call a few years ago. 

"My legs were right between the guide rail and the car. I jumped up at the last second and the car clipped my legs and threw me over the guide rail backwards," he said. 

In March, Trooper Thomas Hanigan was injured. 

"I thought I was dead that day. I braced. I thought I was dead," said Trooper Hanigan.  

He noticed a tractor-trailer coming up behind him while he was helping with a disabled vehicle on I-87. 

"I just turned around, I braced," he said.  "I felt the impact of the car. I saw the truck go down the side of my car.  Hit the car in front of me, causing the guy to go over the guide rail."

All these men survived. Too many others were not so lucky. 

"I understand that moving over isn't always an option, but slowing down is a big help and actually looking at us," said Thruway employee Jay Case.  "I mean, we're right there.  You can't miss us. Slowing down, moving over, letting us all go home to our families at night is a big thing."

This Memorial Day weekend, state police will be doing their usual traffic enforcement, paying particular attention to those who do not move over when it's safe to do so.


Kumi Tucker

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