UPDATE: Victims of This Morning’s Fatal Accident on I-65 Identified; ALDOT Issues Statement

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HUNTSVILLE – The victims of today's fatal accident on I-65 near Priceville, both employees of the Alabama Department of Transportation, have been identified. ALDOT employee Jacob Smith, 35, of Athens, was pronounced dead at the scene. Kenneth Hopper, 63, of Hartselle, is at a local hospital. 

Seth Burkett, ALDOT's North Region information specialist, this afternoon issued the following statement:

The entire Alabama Department of Transportation family is grieving today following the death of one ALDOT employee and injury of another as a result of a crash in a work zone on Interstate 65 north of Priceville in Morgan County.

ALDOT employees Jacob Smith, 35, of Athens, and Kenneth Hopper, 63, of Hartselle, were struck during the crash near the Tennessee River Bridge, where they were in the process of removing traffic control devices following a lane closure for repairs to the bridge deck. Smith, an ALDOT employee for more than five years, was pronounced dead at the scene. Hopper, an ALDOT employee for eight years, is being treated at a local hospital.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Smith, and we hope and pray for a speedy recovery for Mr. Hopper,” said ALDOT Director John Cooper. “This tragic incident is a sobering reminder that we all must do everything we can to keep our highways safe. Motorists must slow down, watch out for highway workers and safely move over when passing work crews.”

Speeding and distracted driving are the primary driver-related factors in work zone crashes.

Work zones are dynamic places that can change from minute to minute. The presence of trucks, flaggers and queues, combined with reduced speed limits, create an environment in which remaining alert is critical. When traveling through a work zone, always obey traffic control devices such as signs, pavement markings, cones and drums, maintain the posted speed limit and pay attention to traffic patterns to help everyone stay safe.


For background, see http://cullmansense.com/articles/2016/04/14/1-aldot-employee-killed-1-injured-crash-i-65.