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May 9, 2014

Police say 2 construction workers killed on I-69

INDIANAPOLIS — Two construction workers removing traffic restrictions after overnight paving were killed Friday morning when a pickup truck crashed into them along Interstate 69 in northeast Indianapolis, police said.

The crash happened about 5:45 a.m. in the southbound lanes a couple miles north of I-465, causing traffic heading into Indianapolis to back up for several miles in the heavily traveled suburban area.

State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said investigators didn’t immediately know why the driver of the pickup ran into the large arrow board set up in the left lanes of the highway or how fast the truck was going.

The two people killed, who worked for a contractor, were standing along the road and about to move the arrow board after crews had moved cones marking off the paving area, Myers said.

“They were essentially done and had backed up to the arrow board with another truck, had it hooked up and were standing along the right-hand side when they were struck,” he said.

Police identified those killed as Kenneth Duerson Jr., 49, of Indianapolis, and Coty Demoss, 24, of Noblesville. They worked for contractor Reith Riley.

The 22-year-old man driving the pickup was stuck inside the vehicle because of the damage. He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Myers said. Alcohol use wasn’t suspected as a factor, Myers said, but toxicology tests were being conducted.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will conduct a joint investigation with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine whether proper safety procedures were followed, highway agency spokesman Nathan Riggs said.

Such crashes show the dangers of highway construction areas, Riggs said.

“So many things can happen suddenly in a work zone, it’s imperative that you just pay attention,” he said. “Look at the signs, slow down and make sure you have enough room, especially with the vehicle in front of you.”

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