It was a usual Wednesday morning on Sept. 15, 2010, and I
was doing the daily duties of a KDOT inspector. The striping contractor was
working on the project the day before, so a coworker and myself were measuring
the striping for pavement. When we finished measuring the striping it was
almost time for lunch, so we decided to head back to the construction lab. Just
as we started back to the lab it started to drizzle.
We were heading south on the U.S. 59 highway project south
of Lawrence when we merged onto the shoo-fly lane that moved traffic around the
construction. On the south end of the shoo-fly a northbound car crossed the
double yellow line and hit our truck head on. The car took most of the force
from the collision.
A total of three motorists were part of the accident, the
driver of the Nissan Sentra who crossed the double yellow lines, my coworker
and myself. The driver of the Sentra was transported to a Topeka hospital and
then transferred to KU Medical Center. My co-worker and myself were very lucky
that day and only received minor injuries. My coworker was transported to and
released from Lawrence Memorial Hospital and I was transferred to KU Medical
Center with a dislocated and fractured left mid-foot that put me out of work for
Everyone involved was wearing seat belts, though everyone was
injured, it could have been a lot worse. I always wore my seat belt before the
crash and now after, it’s absolutely a necessity.
What seems to start out as any normal day may not end that
way, as that Wednesday in September for me. I feel fortunate that I can tell my
story and that my wife and kids still have their husband and father. Safety is
the responsibility of every person on the roadways and is the one thing that
keeps them from having a life-changing event.
The following is a quote from William M. Jeffers, former
President of Union Pacific Railroad Co. (1946); “Safety applies with equal
force to the individual, to the family, to the employer, to the state, the
nation and to international affairs.Safety, in its widest sense, concerns the happiness, contentment and
freedom of mankind.
Zirkle is an Engineering Technician Senior in KDOT’s Bureau of Construction and