Filling Potholes Turns Deadly


Thursday, March 15th 2007, 9:38 pm
By: News On 6


A man working to fill potholes on a busy Tulsa highway Thursday afternoon is hit by a car and killed. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the victim, 23-year-old Joshua McCance was part of a crew that was filling potholes on the Broken Arrow Expressway. Because overpasses and interchanges don't leave a lot of room for pothole crews to work, the News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports this tragic accident shows if drivers aren't careful, it can be deadly.

"Certainly something you dread to see occur. It's a terrible thing," said Tulsa Fire Captain Larry Bowles.

It was a shocking scene that shook up emergency workers and construction workers alike. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says there was a three-man crew with the truck. The crew was working to fill potholes on the Broken Arrow Expressway, when tragedy struck.

"A white vehicle was in the middle lane of travel, veered to the shoulder and struck the truck from behind,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Ricky Humdy.

Joshua McCance, who was on the back of the truck was hit and killed.

"I just hate it,” said Martin Stewart of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. “Our CPI employee was just six months on, of course family and all that. It's just tragic."

The driver of the car, Paula Welch was taken to a Tulsa hospital. She was later released. State transportation officials say the truck's emergency lights were flashing and so was the flashing arrow lights on the truck itself. OHP troopers say they don't know what caused the white car to veer on to the shoulder. They say it should serve as a wake up call to all drivers to give workers on the side of the road some space.

"People just don't realize how fast 55 miles per hour is until you stand out here on the side of the road, how dangerous that is. It don't take 30 miles an hour to kill ya," said Humdy.

"Highways are a very dangerous place for construction workers, policemen, firefighters,” said Bowles. “It's a very hazardous atmosphere when you've got that much weight and mass moving at that kind of speed."

OHP troopers say they found drugs in Welch's car. The accident is still under investigation, but Welch could be charged with at negligent homicide.

The road crew works for CP Integrated Services which contracts with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for highway repairs in Tulsa County.