ST. LOUIS – A MoDOT supervisor reportedly ignored crucial safety training right before the fatal work zone crash in 2021, according to an internal reprimand letter.
The only MoDOT survivor from the incident was Michael Brown.
“It’s an organizational failure,” Brown said.
Brown obtained a copy of the MoDOT’s letter because of a lawsuit. The letter details disciplinary action against his former supervisor.
On Nov. 18, 2021, a driver crashed through a work zone on Telegraph over I-255, killing James Brooks and Katelyn Anderson who was pregnant with her unborn son Jaxx. MoDOT has never answered why there was no protective truck blocking the work zone as required.
MoDOT’s discipline letter offered some answers. It called out a supervisor from that fatal day, accusing him of receiving a safety video he reportedly ignored a month prior to the accident.
MoDOT wrote the following statement from the letter:
“You failed to follow up with anyone to ensure the signing and striping employees under your supervision had watched the required (protective truck) usage video referenced in the email and you did not watch the required video as instructed.”
Anderson’s mother, Tonya Musskopf said her daughter and grandson would have lived if the supervisor did not ignore the safety training.
“If they would have taken that training, my daughter and grandson would probably still be here with me. My grandson would be five months old,” Musskopf said.
The disciplinary letter also stated in part telling the supervisor:
“After the fatal incident, you received an email from your supervisor,” and “there was a ‘Safety expectations poster’ attached. “As of March 3, 2022, the poster was still not visible or hanging.”
“It’s so classless to have no respect for the lives lost and the life injured to make sure that the rest of the employees at least can look at the safety poster,” Musskopf said.
According to the letter, the supervisor’s punishment was probation for three months.
“Your failures as a supervisor cost three lives and permanently affected mine. All you get is a slap on the wrist, three days probation where you still get to go to work every day?” Brown said.
MoDOT told FOX 2 it would not discuss the issue since it’s in litigation. Brown said MoDOT still won’t talk to him directly, which leads him to wonder whether anything’s really changed with safety training.