A construction worker was killed Friday morning on Interstate 44 near 177th East Avenue near Catoosa in Rogers County.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a dump truck backing up at a slow rate of speed hit a woman working at the construction site. She has been identified as 48-year-old Eri Hernandez of Edmond.
OHP investigators said safety precautions were in place, the victim wore a vest and a hard hat. But unfortunately, that couldn't protect her from the construction accident.
Construction worker Larry Gipson is hurting over the death of his Mack's S & S coworker.
"Just wicked. Tragic," Gipson said.
Lieutenant Ron Hamilton with OHP says Hernandez was kneeling on the ground doing work on the roadway when the dump truck backed over her and killed her.
"We was honking the horn yelling at her, telling her to watch out, but it was so loud, she couldn't hear us, and the dump truck was coming through," Gipson said. "Wasn't paying no attention really."
Gipson said the interstate is noisy and neither the driver, nor Hernandez, heard their warnings.
OHP said the driver, 25-year-old Jaime Aguirre, backed over Hernandez with his rear and front tires.
"According to witnesses, she didn't see the truck until the last minute and was unable to get out of the way," Hamilton said.
Aguirre, who works for Jimbo's Trucks in Tulsa, is very distraught, Hamilton said.
Gipson has worked with Hernandez for eight years. He said he can't process her passing.
"I'm hurtin. I'm just trying to keep it inside. This hurts because I've been knowing that lady for so long. So long," Gipson said.
He said Hernandez's job was to keep her co-workers safe, holding signs to direct traffic. He wishes he could have protected her Friday morning.
"She was good peoples," Gipson said. "We all got an expiration date, but that ain't the way nobody wants nobody's expiration date."
OHP is investigating the dump truck, making sure that those back-up beepers were working.
We reached out to Mack's S & S, the company Hernandez worked for, but have not heard back. We also contacted Jimbo's, the dump truck company, but also have not heard back.
Hamilton said investigators were not requesting a blood test on the driver because they saw no evidence that drug or alcohol use were involved.
He added that the company would most likely be testing the Aguirre, who was delivering materials to the construction site.
Hernandez's family has been notified of her death.