Family Of ODOT Worker Killed On Job Pleads For Drivers To Put Down Phones

Wednesday, June 8th 2016, 7:13 pm
By: News On 6

The mother of an ODOT worker wants people to put down their phones after troopers say a distracted driver killed her son.

Jarrell Gray worked for ODOT for 18 years.

On May 18, he had an inmate work crew on Highway 20. A driver told troopers he reached down for his phone, and that's when he hit the work trailer, slammed into Gray, pinning him between two vehicles and severing his leg.

Gray was a father of 14-year-old twin boys and an 11-year-old son. He was taking care of his mother because of her health, and everyone says he had a heart of gold.

"Most people will do it if you ask, but all Jarrell needed to know was there was a need and he would do it,” mother Judy Gray said.

About 500 people attended Gray’s funeral. He was a gifted wood carver who made beautiful pieces as gifts, but his first priority always was his boys.

"His whole life was those boys,” Judy Gray said. “He never missed one of their functions."

His sister, Lisa Lovelady added her brother “took off work if he had to but was at everything, at everything."

They say what makes the loss so terrible is they know it was preventable.

"You watch people on the highway, 99 percent of them are messing with their phone as they're driving,” Lovelady said.

Gray’s mother says she accepted her husband's death and her other son's death because they were both ill, but this is different.

"It's still so hard to accept... it's just, he's too young,” Gray said.

"I don't want his boys not to have their dad at their wedding or graduation, it's just hard," Lovelady said.

As for the other driver, the DA says it could be months until they get all the reports and then they'll decide what charges to file.