REFUGIO – Some people call it a simulation, but it looked like a reality movie.
The Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers that they need to slow down through work zones. It is the law, and fines can be up to $2,000.
Rickey Daily, spokesman for TxDOT, praised Refugio County’s TxDOT office for going all out each year during the National Work Zone Awareness week.
“They are one of the best,” he said.
Refugio County puts on a major production to make drivers aware of safety in work zones.
Terry Castaneda and David Meza of the local TxDOT office directed and wrote the script for the simulated fatality in a work zone.
“I gave them some lines, but they were pretty free to act it out,” Castaneda said.
Monday morning, the action started with DPS troopers racing toward a crash where the drunk driver, who was played by Robert Allen, rammed into the rear of a dump truck in a work zone.
The DPS had been pursuing the drunk driver.
The work zone was well marked with signage, warning signals and orange cones.
The white pickup threw one worker over its hood and another under its wheel.
The worker on the hood was played by Joe De Leon, who survived the crash.
Unfortunately for the worker under the pickup wheel, Robert Vega, he was killed, according to the script.
Meanwhile, EMTs helped De Leon’s character, preparing him for transport.
A HALO-Flight helicopter arrived moments later, and the medical personnel on that aircraft came to roll De Leon out on a gurney to the chopper.
With the exit of the helicopter, the simulation was over, lasting about an hour and a half.
Participating in the production were TxDOT personnel, DPS, Refugio EMTs, Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department, Refugio County Sheriff’s Office personnel and others.
According to Dailey, a decrease in work zone crashes this year happened over last year, but 161 people still lost their lives and another 684 were seriously injured.
For these reasons and more, National Work Zone Awareness is necessary to help make motorists aware of the danger they pose when speeding or distracted in such zones.
Tim Delaney is the Refugio editor at the Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397, or at refugio@mySouTex.com.