ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation workers who died last November should have been protected by a buffer truck. MoDOT’s director admitted it in a letter obtained by FOX 2.
So, we are continuing to ask why there was no protection on that fatal day.
Kaitlyn Anderson died with her unborn baby on November 18, along with MoDOT worker James Brooks. A third employee, who survived, may never fully recover. Russell Dabbs used to work with them.
“My wife said, ‘That could have been you out there,'” Dabbs recalled.
He said he left the job last September because of his safety concerns. One of his jobs was to drive a protective truck, which is called a TMA truck in technical terms. He said he was hit driving a TMA in August 2019.
Dabbs said drivers “…don’t even see us. I don’t see how they can’t see these big yellow trucks with these flashing lights and arrow boards.”
He held up his hand as he continued, “Primarily I think it’s part of this – the cell phone.”
Because drivers don’t seem to care, Dabbs said MoDOT must make sure to have protective trucks protecting all crews. He says there should have been one at the fatal crash scene on November 18.
“No excuse,” Dabb said.
When asked who is responsible, Dabbs answered: “Supervisors or I would say higher-ups, management. They should have known where they were at and that intersection – the onramp to 255 or 270 there. It’s just chaotic.”
MoDOT’s director acknowledged in a letter that MoDOT has an “…existing requirement to use a dedicated TMA or protective vehicle anytime workers are physically working within a lane of traffic.”
But MoDOT will not answer FOX 2’s questions about why there wasn’t a protective truck on Telegraph over I-255 to prevent the November fatal crash.
Kaitlyn Anderson’s aunt, Tabatha Moore, said she won’t stop speaking out until she gets an answer.
“It can absolutely happen again, and that’s what we want to prevent,” Moore said.
Adding to the confusion, MoDOT never mentions the required protective truck in a recent Worker’s Compensation response to the crash, in which a MoDOT supervisor wrote “There were no policy or procedure violations…” and “no corrective action required.”
Dabbs said that doesn’t make sense, and that it’s a supervisor’s job to make sure the road crew is protected.
He said Anderson, her baby, and Brooks “…should still be here had MoDOT covered their P’s and Q’s and made sure there was a TMA out there.”
MoDOT has declined interviews and declined to answer specific questions we’ve posed for weeks. We followed up today demanding more answers and asking again for an interview. We’re still waiting for their response. Kaitlyn Anderson’s Aunt says she’s taking her protests to the next level, next Friday, April 15, with a protest in Jefferson City.