Public Works Employee Dies After Being Struck By Vehicle

Omaha, NE – A leader of a public works crew that was patching potholes at 144th and U, was fatally injured when a car drifted into the lane he was working in, hitting him and causing a head injury.

Officials at Nebraska Medicine confirmed that 48-year-old Sal Fidone was pronounced dead at the hospital Friday.

Public officials say the first time they can recall a public works employee dying as a result of an incident while on the job.

At the time of the accident, investigators found maintenance workers were following every safety precaution, wearing required reflective vests, providing warnings to motorists, and had their vehicles parked in the correct location.

Tony Burkhalter, a representative of the Nebraska Public Employees Local 251 labor union, released a statement shortly after the accident, appealing to the motoring public to be mindful of workers, adding, “this tragedy has affected all of us because it could have been any one us.”

The driver of the vehicle involved in the incident has not been charged.

A NIOSH report on distracted driving reveals that new research suggests that some type of distraction is present during 52% of normal driving. The most common distractions are interacting with an adult or teen passenger (15%), using a cell phone (6%), and using systems such as climate control and radio (4%). This information comes from a national “naturalistic driving” study which collected data on the normal driving behaviors of 3,500 volunteer participants over a three-year period.

Researchers reported that drivers were at twice the risk of having a crash involving injury or property damage while distracted, compared to times they were not distracted. The same study found that distraction was present in 68% of crashes that involved injury or property damage, and estimated that 36% of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States could be avoided if no distractions were present