Wednesday, June 27, 2007

FREDERICK, Md. — A state road worker died yesterday after being hit by a pickup on an Interstate 70 entry ramp, marking the second time in eight days a roadside worker was killed by a vehicle.

Richard W. Moser, a State Highway Administration worker, was killed at about 10:15 a.m. while grading a shoulder near the intersection of U.S. Route 340 and Interstate 70, south of Frederick.

Mr. Moser, 57, of Middletown, Md., was struck by a 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck as the vehicle came around the curve. The driver, Brian J. McCully, 34, of Knoxville, Md., was hospitalized with injuries that were not life threatening.

“The speed of the pickup is being investigated,” state police Sgt. Arthur Betts said.

On June 18, at about 10:15 a.m., a car ran off the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway, south of Branch Avenue in Prince George’s County, and fatally struck James Morton-Bey, 27. He was one of seven prison inmates collecting trash from along the roadway.

The inmates were wearing yellow vests, and a sign was posted on a dump truck to warn motorists about workers. Morton-Bey, who was serving two years for drug distribution in Baltimore, was scheduled for release next June.

“The inmates were following the safety rules,” said Maj. Priscilla Doggett, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

The two deaths come after Howard County police Cpl. Scott Wheeler was killed June 16 when he was hit by a car after stepping into traffic to pull over a speeding driver.

Yesterday, Maryland State Police announced that troopers will no longer step out of their cars to wave over speeders on interstate highways.

The decision follows the lead of Howard and Anne Arundel counties in suspending the practice known as “stepping out.”

New superintendent Col. Terrence B. Sheridan made the decision late Friday after the funeral for Cpl. Wheeler.

“Speed enforcement will continue. We will stop people [using] police vehicles,” state police spokesman Greg Shipley said.

In addition to highways, troopers temporarily won’t walk onto lower-speed roadways, pending the results of a review, he said.

Police in Howard and Anne Arundel counties have also ordered reviews of their speed-enforcement strategies and have suspended “stepping out” until those reviews are completed.

John Townsend, of AAA Mid-Atlantic, said yesterday that Cpl. Wheeler’s death signals more precautions should be imposed, including warning signs or even closing traffic lanes.

“All the motorists have to do is look away from the road for three seconds,” he said.

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