INDIANAPOLIS — A Fortville man who caused an accident that killed two construction workers early Friday could face criminal charges.
Jordan Stafford, 22, was driving his pickup truck southbound on Interstate 69 at about 5:45 a.m. when he crashed into a large arrow board intended to move traffic out of the lane.
Two construction workers, Kenneth Duerson Jr., 49, of Indianapolis and Coty Demoss, 24, of Noblesville, were also struck by Stafford’s vehicle. They were standing alongside the road and were just about to move the arrow board to reopen the lane after overnight paving.
“They were essentially done and had backed up to the arrow board with another truck, had it hooked up and were standing along the right-hand side when they were struck,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Meyers said.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, though police said they did not believe Stafford was impaired. He suffered minor injuries in the accident and was treated at a nearby hospital.
This is the second time the Stafford family has dealt with a fatal car accident in as many years. Stafford’s mother, Fortville clerk-treasurer Marcie Stafford, lost her son, Logan Stafford, 19, in a car accident in December 2012.
Friday’s accident brought back painful memories for the family.
“We’re worrying that he’s going to – you know. The same thing happened with Logan,” Marcie Stafford said.
Jordan Stafford’s injuries were not life-threatening, however. He underwent surgery to repair a dislocated hip Friday.
“He’s still pretty out of it after surgery,” Stafford said early Friday afternoon. “He doesn’t really remember what has happened.”
Marcie Stafford said she doesn’t typically watch the morning news, but when she spoke with a coworker Friday morning, they discussed the traffic snarl nearby on I-69.
Marcie Stafford turned on the news to see what was going on. It was a dark picture, but she saw what she thought could have been her son’s truck. When the news cast showed a close-up of the truck, Stafford immediately recognized the stack pipes, interior and the toolbox in the back.
“I knew right then it was his truck,” Stafford said.
The crash happened in the southbound lanes a few miles north of I-465, causing traffic heading into Indianapolis to back up for several miles in the heavily traveled suburban area.
“I couldn’t even find him, and then we were waiting on the interstate. I couldn’t even get to St. Vincent because of the traffic,” Stafford said.
According to the Indiana State Police, the investigation is going to take several weeks. Investigators will turn over their report to the Marion County prosecutor’s office for review.
The Indiana Department of Transportation will conduct a joint investigation with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine whether proper safety procedures were followed, highway agency spokesman Nathan Riggs said.
Such crashes show the dangers of highway construction areas, Riggs said.
“So many things can happen suddenly in a work zone, it’s imperative that you just pay attention,” he added. “Look at the signs, slow down and make sure you have enough room, especially with the vehicle in front of you.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.