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Distracted Driver Injures Three Cook County Highway Department Workers

A distracted driver sent three Cook County Highway Department workers to the hospital Tuesday after plowing his car into the back of their truck in south suburban Hazel Crest.

The crewmen were filling potholes along Kedzie Avenue at 10:30 a.m. when their dump truck was rear-ended as they were about to exit the vehicle. They were taken by ambulance to Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, where they were treated and released.

A 47-year-old Flossmoor man was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, according to police. He was not injured.

“He was not paying attention,” Hazel Crest Police Chief Tom Folliard said of the driver. “He had no idea he was driving directly into the back of the truck. His whole windshield was caved in.”

Cook County Highway Superintendent John Yonan said drivers need to be aware of workers and construction on the roads. In this case, the driver failed to see an illuminated arrow board affixed to the truck directing traffic to the outer lane.

“It all has to do with slowing down, being attentive to what’s around you, and respecting the people who are out there trying to make our roads safer,” Yonan said. “Motorists need to be aware that construction season is upon us and there are going to be times when lanes will be narrowed, and work crews will be out there.”

Yonan said the workers were able to avoid serious injury because they followed established safety procedures.

“It could’ve been a lot worse, but they followed safety procedures by keeping their seatbelts on and waiting for a break in traffic before exiting the truck and starting the pothole operation,” he said.

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