WVDOH remembers its fallen workers

CHARLESTON, WV – Fifty-eight orange highway cones stand at the West Virginia Division of Highway (WVDOH) Fallen Worker Memorial in Williamstown, each clad in an orange safety vest and topped by a white hardhat to remember the 58 West Virginia transportation workers who gave their lives on the job.

The cones will remain in place at the memorial, located at the Interstate 77 welcome center, until Monday, April 29, 2024, to remind those passing by of the importance of work zone safety.

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, a WVDOH road worker setting up traffic control devices at the scene of an accident in Clarksburg was critically injured when struck by a motorist. On Friday, March 29, 2024, a WVDOH worker patching potholes on Interstate 79 in Braxton County was struck by a distracted driver, escaping with minor injuries.

On Thursday, April 4, 2024, a flagger for A.L.L. was killed when a distracted driver failed to stop at a work zone on US 340 in Jefferson County.

“The worker did everything right,” said West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. “She had an escape plan, she tried to utilize her escape plan and still ended up being struck by the vehicle.

“We’ve got to pay attention in these work zones,” Wriston said.

There were 800 crashes in West Virginia work zones in 2023, killing five people. Transportation workers were in the work zone in 389 of those crashes.

The Fallen Worker Memorial was dedicated in 2017.

“When I got that call in the hotel, emotions overwhelmed me,” said Jake Bumgarner, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of Special Program, of the moment he learned that his co-worker and friend, Randy Bland, had died on the job.

The memorials bear the names of these 58 workers:

  • Susan Custer
  • Ellis Ogden
  • Robert Lilly
  • Oscar Maynard
  • Millard Mcatte
  • Luke Simpicio
  • Timothy Cox
  • John Murphy
  • Arthur Coulter
  • Roy Vanscoy
  • Robert Kanode
  • Victor Abbington
  • Chester DeLong
  • Robert Pritt
  • Dennis Neely Jr.
  • Robert Fleece Jr.
  • Paul B. Kyle
  • Frederick Sponaugle
  • John Poland
  • Glen Shrewsbury
  • John Townsend
  • James Galloway Jr.
  • Francis Doran
  • Joseph Chetork
  • Edwin Logston
  • David Earliwine
  • Eli Blankenship Jr.
  • Wetzel L. Bias
  • Terry L. Webb
  • William D. Cook
  • Steven L. Oldaker
  • Jack Sharps
  • Roger E. Skinner
  • Stephen M. Cogar
  • Rickie H. Sanders
  • John A. Moat
  • Randall W. Bland
  • Glenn F. Lough
  • Charles E. Himelrick Jr.
  • Ralph W. Swisher
  • Fernard J. Reto
  • Richard Johnson
  • Jack A. Williams
  • Forrest A. Raynes
  • Okie Riser
  • Timothy E. Booth
  • Okey Dean
  • Edward Arnold
  • James H. Watts
  • Harold Sherr
  • Johnny L. Wilson
  • Stephen A. Herold
  • Nelson E. Ingram
  • Benjamin Harris
  • Eugene Sullivan
  • John D. Greenwide
  • Morris Hansford

WVDOH plans a memorial service to remember those who have fallen at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at the workers memorial.

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