As he was working near the center of the road, raking the loose asphalt from the patch, the other side of the road was open to traffic allowing motorists to get by the operation. A flagger permitted a pickup truck hauling a horse trailer to drive through the work zone.
"I was close to the middle of the road when I heard one of my crew member's yell, 'You're going to get hit!' That's when it happened. I saw the pickup truck with wide mirrors and just missed it, but the trailer it was hauling was wider than the pick-up. The wheel of the trailer grabbed my knee and pulled it down. The next thing I knew there was a wheel track over my pant leg and knee. The driver kept going."
Lou's crew members yelled and the driver then stopped, looked back, called out that he had to deliver the horses, and drove on. He returned about 15 to 20 minutes later, after delivering the horses.
Lou stood up and tried to regain his composure, but collapsed to the ground. When the driver with the horse trailer returned to the scene and asked Lou if he was OK, Lou made sure that he communicated to the fellow that he was not.
The driver said, "I knew I was too wide to get through." Lou asked, "So why did you." The driver was silent.
Lou was taken to the hospital emergency room. He had a partial tear in his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and a depressed fibula. Fortunately, the tear healed over time. However, additional damage to his knee that didn't clear up required surgery months later, at the end and physical therapy.
"I've been working on the road for 30 years," Lou says. "It's horrible out there. People's behavior is getting worse and worse. We need to stop this. Just recently, for example, in dealing with flooding, we placed barricades to close the road and protect drivers from driving into running water, but some motorists ignored them and just drive around the barricades."
Lou reflects on the incident and the safety of his crew. "I wasn't complacent before. I'm very safety oriented," explains Lou. "I shelter my guys and make sure they're safe. I'm glad it was me who was hurt last summer. I would have felt really, really bad if it had happened to one of my guys. Nowadays, I'm super, super cautious."