INDIANAPOLIS – Authorities are investigating a crash on I-69 that killed two construction workers.
The crash happened before 6 a.m. on Friday. The two construction workers were hit while they picked up orange cones on the southbound lanes of the highway. It was the end of their shift. The two people who were killed work for Rieth Riley construction and were helping with an INDOT project.
Coty Demoss, 24, and Kenneth Duerson Jr., 49, were killed. Demoss is from Noblesville and Duerson Jr. is from Indianapolis.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said Jordan Stafford, 22, was driving a Ford pickup truck when he did not change lanes near this construction site. Sgt. Myers said Stafford hit an arrow board sign before hitting Demoss and Duerson Jr.
This case is under investigation. ISP does not believe alcohol played a role in this crash. They are looking into toxicology reports.
“I’m not going to speculate as far as what exactly caused this, but these things don’t happen if everybody takes the time to do everything right,” Nathan Riggs with INDOT said.
Riggs said today’s crash is tragic. He said crews try to be as safe as possible when they are on a work site. Riggs hopes people will try to learn something from this crash. He said drivers need to pay attention when they are on the road and make sure they are not distracted.
“As tragic as this incident is and these incidents are when they happen, if there is any good that comes out of it I hope that people take the opportunity to learn from this crash from this tragic loss of life. There are families that won’t have a father or brother coming home today and when you’re driving through these work zones just take the time to just put down the phone (and) focus on what you need to be doing so that you can safely get through the work zone, but so that the people out there trying to make your drive better can just go home at the end of the day,” Riggs said.
INDOT will review the crash and their procedures.
“Certainly when something like this happens you want to look at what specifically was done in this work zone and see if there was anything that was done out of line or not following those procedures and looking at those procedures and seeing if there is anything that could be done to prevent this from happening in the future,” Riggs said.
Riggs said they are constantly re-evaluating their operations.
“I’ve done this (worked at a construction site). Personally. I’ve done what these guys were doing and you do it hundreds of times. Y0u do it safely (and) nothing happens, but it just takes one mistake and somebody loses their life,” Riggs said.
When the crash happened, the driver of the Ford pickup truck was taken to the hospital. Marcie Stafford, Jordan Stafford’s mother, spoke with FOX 59 on the phone. She said her son did not remember the crash. Marcie Stafford said her son was notified two people were killed at the hospital.
Marcie Stafford is the clerk-treasurer in Fortville. She said today’s crash is unbearably difficult because the family continues to deal with the loss of a loved one. In 2012, Jordan Stafford’s brother, Logan was killed after authorities said he ran a stop sign; he was hit by an INDOT truck.
Jordan Stafford faced a number of drug charges in Hancock County from 2011. FOX 59 learned Jordan Stafford violated probation last year. Marcie Stafford said it was due to alcohol. She said her son has been clean since the probation violation. She said Jordan Stafford has been in a recovery program and is supposed to finish it this year. She said her son has turned his life around.
FOX 59 spoke to people in Fortville today. Many of them did not want to comment about today’s crash. Frances Martinez lives in Fortville. She knows about the Stafford family. She said she is thinking about everyone involved in this crash and asking for prayers.
“You know, they’re good people. I mean this should never happen this quickly to anyone. It shouldn’t happen at all. I know it’s not going to look good. Everybody is already saying ‘oh he must’ve….he must’ve’. Well, we don’t know that and I just need them to take the family into consideration (and) how good they are,” Frances Martinez said.