Road worker killed in Tuesday highway accident

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A road crew worker was struck and killed on Highway 84 in Franklin County while working to lay down rumble strips Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

     Joseph A. Woodward Jr., 32, of Edwards, was killed when a vehicle driven by April L. Watson, 19, of McCall Creek, veered from the left lane of Highway 84 westbound into the right lane where Woodward and a work crew were located and hit Woodward, said Rusty Boyd, public affairs officer with the Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M.

     Watson was driving a 2009 Lexus IS 250 and reported to MHP officers on site that she became distracted and crossed into the right lane, Boyd said. The cause of the distraction remains under investigation.

     There were no passengers in the vehicle with Watson, according to accident reports.

     The accident occurred on Highway 84, just west of McCall Creek. MHP responded to the accident at 1:48 p.m.

     Edwards was working as a sub-contractor on an MDOT project to install rumble strips on the highway. Boyd believes approximately three other workers were present Tuesday at the time of the accident.

     According to Boyd, it appears Woodward exited the vehicle he was driving to inspect progress. He was driving a 2009 Chevrolet pickup owned by Lane Line LLC out of Flowood.

     The truck’s driver’s side door was open and Watson struck both Edwards and the open door, said Dr. Elmo Gabbert, Franklin County Deputy Coroner. Gabbert said he pronounced Edwards dead on the scene about 2:30 p.m.

     Watson was wearing a seatbelt and transported to Franklin County Hospital with minor injuries, Boyd said.

     There, she was treated and released, said Gabbert. No one else was injured on site.

     There was a truck with a directional arrow in the right lane of the westbound side of the highway warning drivers to merge into the left lane, Boyd said.

     “She did get into the left lane, but veered back into the right,” Boyd said.

     The accident remains under investigation.