Wisconsin DOT Under Scrutiny After Fatal I-94 Crash
Racine County, Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WiDOT) is coming under increasing criticism over its handling of a construction site along I-94 where a fiery crash claimed the lives of two truck drivers last week.
According to multiple published reports by local news outlets, motorists are sounding off about their beliefs that the 18-mile construction site is dangerous.
A recent report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted one motorist as saying the stretch along I-94 is a “death trap.”
The construction project is part of a massive WiDOT effort to add lanes and modernize the freeway in Racine County.
According to WiDOT spokesperson Micheal Pyritz, lanes and shoulders were narrowed, and the speed limit was lowered from 70 mph to 60 mph.
Pyritz defended the department’s handling of the site asserting the construction zone had followed standard safety protocols on the day of the accident.
Pyritz did acknowledge motorists have complained about the project, but said the department had not received more complaints than normal for a construction site.
Still, motorists contend the speed limit reduction was insufficient and the lanes are too narrow for the amount of traffic that flows along I-94.
I-94 Crash Recreated
The fiery crash occurred on Wednesday, June 19 at approximately 11 a.m. when a southbound tractor-trailer, believed to be driven by Jeffrey Johnson of Taylor Made Express Inc., lost control after making a lane change and over-correcting.
The big rig then hit the median wall, causing it to give way and be pushed into the northbound lanes.
Three passenger vehicles then collided with Johnson’s overturned tractor-trailer.
A northbound big rig, believed to be driven by 40-year-old Kenneth Rogers, swerved right to avoid a collision.
Rogers’ tractor-trailer then plunged about 30 feet off the right side of the highway and onto East Frontage Road where it exploded and was engulfed in flames, according to investigators.
He said, “He turned off the roadway, rather than crashing into three other vehicles and a semi. I would suggest to you that that is very heroic… risking his own life in an effort to save potentially three other vehicles.”
Officials have yet to formally identify the truck drivers.
However, Johnson was confirmed to be involved by his employer.
Rogers’ family also confirmed he died in the crash, according to multiple local media reports.
A recreation of the crash produced by local news outlet TMJ4 reveals the perilous moments faced by all involved.
WATCH it below.