Road construction worker: Slow down and pay attention - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Road construction worker: Slow down and pay attention

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NASHVILLE, Ill. -- This week marks National Work Zone Awareness Week and officials urge you to slow down and be careful around construction workers. 

Nashville resident, Brian Moore was only a construction worker for eight months before he had an up-close-and-personal experience with a reckless driver. 

"The next thing I know, I woke up in the fast lane of traffic," Moore said. "I could hear brakes and you could smell something was wrong."

May 22, 2012, is a day Moore will never forget.

Moore said he remembers mentioning something to his coworker about the difference in traffic that day.

"We were mentioning how fast traffic was going and they weren't really giving us a break," Moore said. "They were just basically flying right by us."

It was the day he and three other workers were hit by a drunk driver while working in a construction zone on I-64 near Fairview Heights. 

"As I tried to get up, I realized there was nothing below my left knee and I asked a lady, who pulled over to help, if she had seen my foot and she said, it's still attached, you're just sitting on it," Moore said. 

Moore said he doesn't remember getting hit by the car but was awake to hear everything that was happening around him. 

"It seemed that morning that there were a lot of women on the road and I can only remember that because of hearing all the screaming," Moore said. 

In between the screams, he heard paramedics yelling someone wasn't going to make it. 

After hearing this, Moore said he asked that same lady, who pulled over to help at the scene, to call his wife. 

"I was worried that if I didn't make it, I just wanted her to know that I'm okay, I'm not in a lot of pain and if I go, I'm sorry," Moore said. 

Moore said, he thought it was him, but next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital begging for someone to tell him what happened to his co-workers. 

"She (my wife) told me that Dennis didn't make it," Moore said. 

Dennis Beard was a husband and a father of three. 

"I'll never forget having to see them (the Beard Family) as they walked into my hospital room and having to explain I was sorry," Moore said. 

After more than 15 surgeries, three months in the hospital and being told he would never walk again, Brian is back to owning his own construction company.

"I finally laid the cane down and never looked back," Moore said laughing. 

Nearly seven year after Moore was hit while working in a construction zone, he drives around with a decal on the back of his truck that says, "Slow down in work zones," and "Rest In Peace Dennis."

He says it's there to remind drivers to slow down when they see flashing lights. 

"Be that person that starts it," Moore said. "Be that person that drives through there and slows down, remembering me, remembering Dennis or remembering these Illinois State Troopers that we've lost," Moore said. 

Now more than ever, Brian wants drivers to slow down and pay attention. 

"Just act like that's family, or act like that's somebody out there just trying to make it back to their home to see their family," Moore said. "Just like you want to do when you drive through a work zone."

Moore said drivers should be alert at all times, not just construction zones. 

"When you see people go through a work zone so fast, or even somebody sitting on the side of the road, changing a tire and people don’t want to get over, that drives me crazy," Moore said.

The man that hit Moore and his coworkers is currently in prison serving his nine-year sentence. 

According to the St. Louis Post, Michael Jeter, of West Frankfort, was charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence.

Prosecutors said Jeter was impaired by a tranquilizer, a sleep aid and an antihistamine when he crashed his car.

"Illinois state police said that he was doing anywhere between 90 and 100 miles per hour when he hit us," Moore said. 

Brian Moore is the cousin of News 3's Emily Manley. 

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