MEDFORD (CBS) – A highway worker was killed by a drunk driver on Interstate 93 in Medford early Tuesday morning, according to State Police.
Thomas O’Day, 52, of East Bridgewater, was part of a work zone crew on 93 North near Roosevelt Circle (exit 33) when he was struck by a 2012 Fiat 500 around 2:45 a.m.
State Police said O’Day was walking, picking up traffic cones following a line painting operation, when he was hit by the compact car, driven by 31-year-old James Scoville of Chelmsford.
A second highway worker, a 33-year-old man from Taunton, was on the back of a company truck that was also hit by the Fiat. That man is recovering from minor injuries.
Scoville was arrested and charged with motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of liquor. Scoville failed the field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, prosecutors said at his arraignment.
O’Day worked for Hi-Way Safety Systems, a company that has a pavement marking contract with MassDOT.
“We take great pride in ensuring our employees are operating under safe, well lit and clearly signed work sites while on the roadway,” a spokesperson for Hi-Way Safety Systems said in a statement. “In the meantime we are doing what we can to support both families.”
Hours before he was killed, O’Day posted on Facebook his frustration that there was no police detail assigned to his work that evening.
MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard confirmed that there was no police officer working at the site.
“MassDOT manages all “work zone” areas and because this was a “low-risk” task overnight there was no police detail deployed,” she told WBZ-TV in an email.
“Low risk” is determined by speed limit.
“On an average night, MassDOT has approximately 120-125 work zone set ups for specific projects, scheduled or emergency maintenance, bridge inspection, and permit work across the Commonwealth. On no given day would 120-125 police details be deployed at every site,” Goddard said.
Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said troopers assign their details on Thursdays.
“Last Thursday, when the detail for this specific job was requested by Hi-Way Safety Systems, we determined right away that we were not going to be able to fill it. That is fairly routine, especially during warm months when there are many construction details to fill and many of our personnel utilizing vacation time. In these instances, we give the detail to local departments. In fact, line painting jobs with this company in our Troop A area have consistently been given to local departments,” Procopio said in an email to WBZ.
“Last Thursday, June 23, we informed the company that we could not fill the Route 93 line painting detail and we called Woburn Police to inform them they could take the detail (the reason we directed it to Woburn is because the staging area for the work crews was in Woburn). From that point on we had no further involvement with it.”
There has been no response to this yet from Hi-Way Safety Systems or Woburn Police.