Deadly construction site crash under investigation

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 29, 1998

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / June 29, 1998

ST. ROSE – Investigators remain puzzled over the accident Wednesdaymorning at a construction site which claimed the lives of a state highway department flagman and a California man.

Trooper Kevin Cannatella reported that at 9:40 a.m., flagman AnthonyAlexander, 54, of Marrero, was on duty at a road maintenance worksite on the westbound side of Airline Highway at St. Rose Avenue. Orange cones were also in place to direct traffic from the outside to the inside lane, as asphalt shaving work progressed. Traffic had slowed toshift to the inside lane.

A 1998 Dodge Neon, rented from Thrifty Car Rental in Kenner and driven by Kevin F. Profit, 35, 2035 West El Camino Drive, Sacramento, Calif., “failedto make the appropriate lane change and went through the traffic cones and struck the flagman,” Cannatella stated.

Alexander, struck by the hood of the car, was flung airborne, over the tailgate and into the truck bed of a 1998 International DOTD dump truck while the Dodge jammed itself halfway beneath the truck.

The heavy truck was shoved 20 feet by the impact of the Neon, Cannatella added.

Profit, like Alexander, was pronounced dead at the scene once emergency workers were able to reach him more than 90 minutes later.

First, Cannatella related, a wrecker designed for use on 18-wheelers had to lift the 35,000-pound dump truck off the Dodge. Then, a second wreckerpulled the car from beneath and workers cut free Profit’s crushed body.

During the accident highway workers scrambled for safety, but Tommy L.

Matthews, 39, of New Orleans, the driver of the parked dump truck, was still inside the cab of the vehicle and sustained minor injuries.

“The accident is under investigation,” Trooper William Verret said in his report, “However, as standard practice in any fatality investigation, we are not going to rule out speed or alcohol.”It was noticed in particular that there were no skid marks left by the Dodge before it struck either Alexander or the dump truck.

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