Two construction workers removing traffic cones after overnight paving were killed Friday morning when a pickup truck crashed into them along Interstate 69 in northeast Indianapolis, police said.
The crash happened about 5:45 a.m. in the southbound lanes a couple miles north of I-465, causing traffic heading into Indianapolis to back up for several miles in the heavily traveled suburban area.
Traffic had thinned to near-normal conditions by late morning.
State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said investigators didn't immediately know why the driver of the pickup ran into the large arrow board set up in the left lanes of the highway or how fast the truck was going at the time.
The two people killed, who worked for a contractor, were standing along the road and about to move the arrow board after crews had moved cones marking off the paving area, Myers said.
"They were essentially done and had backed up to the arrow board with another truck, had it hooked up and were standing along the right-hand side when they were struck," he said.
Indiana State Police identified the men as 49-year-old Kenneth Duerson Jr. of Indianapolis and 24-year-old Coty Demoss of Noblesville, WISH-TV reported. They worked for Rieth-Riley Construction and were two minutes from the end of their shift.
The 22-year-old man driving the pickup was stuck inside the vehicle because of the damage. He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Myers said. No charges were immediately filed from the crash.
Sgt. Rich Myers from Indiana State Police identified the driver as Jordan Stafford, 22, of Fortville, Fox59 reported. Myers said Stafford was pinned inside his truck and couldn’t get out. Crews had to extricate him from the pickup truck. He was taken to an area hospital for what Myers described as minor injuries.
The Indiana Department of Transportation will conduct a joint investigation with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine whether proper safety procedures were followed, highway agency spokesman Nathan Riggs said.
Such crashes show the dangers of highway construction areas, Riggs said.
"So many things can happen suddenly in a work zone, it's imperative that you just pay attention," he said. "Look at the signs, slow down and make sure you have enough room, especially with the vehicle in front of you."