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W.Va. highways worker killed in construction zone

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — One man is dead, and several people injured, after a five-vehicle wreck in a construction zone on U.S. 50 westbound Thursday afternoon. The accident was called in at approximately 2 p.m. just past the intersection of Dutch Ridge Road and U.S. 50, said Deputy B. Swiger with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.

Randall W. Bland, 49, of Waverly, was on foot at the time of the wreck and died from his injuries shortly after arriving at Camden Clark Medical Center, Swiger said.

Bland, an employee with the West Virginia Division of Highways, was working to resurface the travel lane of U.S. 50 when the wreck happened, said Swiger.


A tractor-trailer designed to haul liquid was entering the construction zone in the passing lane, the only open lane of U.S. 50 westbound, when it struck three vehicles one after another, Swiger said.

The name of the tractor-trailer driver and the names of the drivers of the other three vehicles were not released on Thursday evening due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. The fifth vehicle, a DOH truck, was parked and unoccupied.

The tractor-trailer belonged to Hall Drilling LLC, Swiger said. It was not clear what liquid was being hauled by the full tractor-trailer at the scene.

The impact from the tractor-trailer sent the other three vehicles in different directions, including into the median, through the construction zone, and into the berm of the highway, Swiger said.

On Thursday evening, it appeared that one of the vehicles struck a parked Division of Highways truck, trapping Bland in between the parked truck and the vehicle, Swiger said.

The makes and models of the three vehicles struck by the tractor-trailer were not released on Thursday evening.

The construction zone appeared to have all required warning and precautionary signs in place at the time of the accident, Swiger said. It was unknown whether flagging personnel were present at the scene.

According to police reports, six people were taken to Camden Clark Medical Center from the scene. One was Bland, two were described as adult drivers of involved vehicles, and the other three were described as preschool- or kindergarten-age children of unspecified gender, Swiger said.

Conditions on the five unnamed people were not available on Thursday evening.

After the accident, a distance of 471 feet separated from where the first vehicle was struck to where the last vehicle came to rest, Swiger said.

U.S. 50 westbound was closed for approximately two hours while the wreck was investigated by the Wood County Crash Team, Swiger said.

Traffic was routed along Dutch Ridge Road during the closure. The Eastwood Volunteer Fire Department and the Deerwalk Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.

The tractor-trailer was removed from the scene by the Public Service Commission. It was weighed and underwent a level one inspection, the details of which were not available on Thursday evening, Swiger said.

The speed of the tractor-trailer at the time of the accident was not released Thursday night.

No charges had been issued as of Thursday evening, but they are expected, pending the outcome of the investigation, Swiger said.

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