Dump truck hits and kills worker at site of U.S. 40 repaving

April 17, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A construction worker died on the job late Monday night in Ellicott City when a dump truck rolled over him, killing him instantly, Howard County police said.

A spokesman for the State Highway Administration said the accident was unusual because drivers of construction vehicles tend to be among the most aware of work zone safety.

"I can't think of another time this has happened," said David Buck, who has worked for SHA for 12 years.

Walter Ludlam, 52, of the 3300 block of Harpers Ferry Road in Sharpsburg was marking eastbound U.S. 40 near Marriottsville Road to be paved when he walked in front of a slow-moving dump truck filled with asphalt, police said.

The truck's driver, Joseph Leggett of the 10000 block of Greenwich Drive in Williamsport, apparently did not see Ludlam, police said.

Leggett was not injured, and no charges have been filed, police said.

Leggett did not return telephone calls yesterday.

Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said that the investigation is continuing but that Ludlam's death appears to have been accidental.

Poor lighting might have played a role, she said.

Several dump trucks were lined up to pave about 2 1/2 miles of U.S. 40, from Frederick Road to the Interstate 70 entrance. Ludlam was responsible for marking the road for the paving machine, police said.

Ludlam was wearing a reflective construction vest and had a can of paint in his hand when he was hit, Buck said. All safety controls were in place, he said, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate.

Accidents related to roadwork have increased sharply in Howard County in recent years, Buck said, attributing the numbers to an increase in projects. In 2000, 252 such accidents occurred, compared with 154 in 1999 and 118 in 1996.

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