ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The family of a pregnant MoDOT worker who died with her baby last November said they’ll get Missouri’s law changed if they have to.
Kaitlyn Anderson was due to deliver her baby, Jaxx, on March 29. She and her baby died on November 18 in a MoDOT work zone on Telegraph Road over Interstate 255. A second worker also died and a third faces possible permanent injuries.
“It can absolutely happen again and that’s what we want to prevent,” said Anderson’s aunt, Tabatha Moore.
Anderson lived with her aunt at the time. Moore pointed out MoDOT had no protective truck, sometimes called a TMA. She said several past and present MoDOT employees told her it’s not required in speed zones under 45 miles per hour. The crash site on Telegraph is 40 miles per hour.
“They did not provide equipment, a TMA truck behind them because of an mph threshold. It’s ridiculous,” Moore said.
FOX 2 reported this on Monday. The next day MoDOT’s director wrote a letter to Kaitlyn’s family, clarifying that there is an “…existing requirement to use a dedicated TMA or protective vehicle anytime workers are physically working within a lane of traffic.”
That surprised the surviving worker of November’s crash, Michael Brown, who told FOX 2 he was unaware of any protective truck requirement. And we can’t ask the MoDOT supervisor from that November day because he died.
Anderson’s family would like to sue for answers and accountability. Missouri law makes it difficult, according to family attorney Andrew Mundwiller. He said Missouri has created what’s called “sovereign immunity caps.”
“If the state negligently harms someone or kills someone they set the value of a life at $420,000,” said Mundwiller, who is now working with legislators to change this. “If your case is frivolous, the jury will tell you it’s frivolous. This is not a frivolous situation. We want to make sure that not another family goes through this.”
Suing worker’s comp is often another option, but not in Kaitlyn Anderson’s case.
“Kaitlyn was a young lady who was not yet married,” said Moore. “Her only heir was in her belly waiting to be delivered.”
“So she had no dependents and so she falls by the wayside outside the protection of mo worker’s comp laws,” Mundwiller added.
MoDOT’s letter to the family also said that the state stopped all striping operations, like the one Anderson died working, for one month and made sure a safety briefing went out to every single employee that they had to complete before returning to work.
The department also said it’s pressing for justice, involving the driver who hit the workers.