There is outrage after Connecticut State Police say a highway worker on Interstate 84 West in West Hartford was allegedly assaulted by a driver.
“It’s insane. It’s completely insane,” said David Ferraro, Connecticut DOT construction project manager. “That’s the world we work in right now.”
State Police tell us the driver had started to drive in a coned off area near exit 41 late Tuesday night. Authorities say after being told to drive out, he instead stopped and got out of his car.
“What we were told is the construction worker had told this person that they could not drive in that area, it’s a construction pattern. And from there that’s when the individual ended up assaulting the worker,” said Sgt. Christine Jeltema.
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The man was later arrested at his work for charges of third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace.
Troopers say after the worker was hit in the face, they were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
“It's unfortunate that these things happen out there. And it doesn't, unfortunately, doesn't surprise me,” said Carl Chisem, president of CEUI Local 511, which represents hundreds of DOT workers.
Besides drivers slowing down and being more cautious, Chisem thinks it’s important that lawmakers expand a pilot program with speed cameras in work zones and for everyone to remember the importance behind the Move Over Law.
“The traveling public, you know, unfortunately, a lot of times don't respect our respect our men and women out there, and, you know, all they want to do is come home at the end of the day, and that's what I'm looking for,” Chisem said.
We’re told the driver posted a $1,000 bond and is due in court at the end of this month.
While State Police initially identified the victim as a state DOT worker, the DOT later clarified the worker was a contractor.
On Thursday, it released a statement:
“The assault on the highway worker was an unfortunate incident highlighting the dangers of highway and roadway work zones. Occurrences of this nature not only impact highway workers who work tirelessly to maintain our roads but also motorists and their passengers. We want to remind everyone of the importance of paying attention as they approach and drive through work zones, so both motorists and roadway workers remain safe.
Drivers are reminded to reduce speeds, eliminate distractions, and be watchful for roadway workers and their equipment. Everyone must share the responsibility for work zone safety.”