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With all of the road work and construction in the greater area of a driving-heavy city like Saint Louis it can be easy for commuters to tune out roadside warnings, but a little extra alertness can prevent a car accident like the one that took the life of highway worker Lyndon D. Ebker this past Thursday.

car accident

Memorial remembering fallen MoDOT workers who were killed on the job. Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Transportation/Flickr

The 30 year-plus veteran MoDOT employee was cleaning grunge from a bridge over Highway 100 in the mid-morning when the car accident occurred. The crew had a dump truck parked, blocking the east lane. Proper precautionary steps were taken, complete with the correct signage and a crash cushion (a device designed to minimize vehicular damage in the situation of a car accident collision) was attached to the truck.

The car accident was caused by an 80-year-old driver in his Volkswagen station wagon who came up behind the truck, swerved around the vehicle, and struck Ebker. The driver, Norman Haimila, stayed at the scene after the car accident, and was later taken to the hospital and questioned by the police to verify he wasn’t intoxicated. An accident reconstruction report could take up to several weeks to complete, and as of now there have been no immediate charges filed. 

The incident called the attention of Gov. Jay Nixon’s office, which later that day released a statement calling “upon all drivers to be especially careful when encountering work zones or the scenes of [a car accident.]” His conclusion rings truer than ever: “extra caution helps to protect everyone”. Slow down when the signs instruct you to do so, do not steer so hastily around parked maintenance vehicles, and keep a sharper eye out for anyone on the road. It helps to prevent tragedies like falling victim to a car accident from happening to drivers like you, to law enforcement, and to workers like Lyndon Ebker. Our thoughts are with his family and friends in this time of mourning.