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Memorial Unveiled to Honor ODOT Worker Killed on I-71
DELAWARE COUNTY (Ken Hines) -- State officials have unveiled a memorial that honors a road worker who was struck and killed when a semi driver fell asleep behind the wheel.
Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials joined with the widow of Lee Rizor to reveal the memorial on I-71 from mile markers 125 to 128, which will now be known as the Lee M. Rizor Memorial Highway.
Rizor was killed when the backhoe he was operating was struck by a semi truck on I-71 Northbound near the Polaris exit.
The semi's driver, Dwayne Allen Hill, fell asleep behind the wheel of the truck before the fatal crash, according to investigators.
Rizor's widow, Mary, hopes the memorial signs unveiled Monday will help to prevent similar crashes from injuring road workers in the future.
"I hope that these signs are a reminder to all drivers to be careful, and to keep a clear distance away from all of our workers, and keep them safe also," Mary Rizor said.
Rizor was the eighth worker killed in an Ohio road construction zone over since 2003.
"When you work on the highway, you know you live with the understanding that some people aren't safe when they're traveling," ODOT worker Lauren Fitzpatrick said. "But we don't go to work thinking that something's going to happen. We cover all of our safety bases."
Hill was convicted of misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter and failure to maintain his lane after pleading no contest to those charges. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail.