GRIGGS COUNTY, N.D. — Melissa McMahon, a 50-year-old woman from Odessa, Minn., was tragically killed Oct. 15 at a work site in Cooperstown.
The construction worker was hit by a dump truck as the driver backed up to pour asphalt on southeast 15th Street, according to North Dakota Highway Patrol. McMahon was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at about 5 p.m.
The driver of the 1988 Kenworth dump truck, 63-year-old Robert Halvorson, of Summit, N.D., was not wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
No additional information on the accident was immediately available.
COMMENTARY ON WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
I was disturbed to learn of the horrific work accident that took the life of Ms. McMahon decades before her time. Devastating accidents such as this are all too common. In recent years runovers/backovers (primarily by dump trucks) accounted for 48% all road construction worker fatalities. That is nearly half of all road construction fatal accidents—more than twice the road construction worker fatalities caused by travel vehicle collisions U.S. Department of Transportation Work Zone Management Program.
What caused Mr. Halvorson’s failure to stop the dump truck before hitting the victim in this tragic event? Distracted driving? Brake failure? Poor worker visibility? Lack of proper traffic control measures? End of shift rush? Lack of training or experience? We cannot discern the answers to these questions from details in the accident report. A thorough investigation must be conducted to determine the driver’s state of mind, level of experience, physical condition, the safety of the vehicle, and the work site conditions to determine driver culpability or establish company negligence.
I have witnessed firsthand the devastation and heartache caused by accidents like this one as the victim’s loved ones work through their grief at the same time trying to navigate the legal system. It is not an endeavor for the faint of heart. My deepest condolences go out to Ms. McMahon’s loved ones.
Disclaimer: At Ammons Law, we are constantly seeking to improve the quality and safety of our roads and highways. We post these articles to help improve safety within our community. All of the information contained within this post was compiled from public sources or constitutes the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if you identify any false or misleading information.