Construction Worker Killed by Driver on I-89

By Christine Souders |

Published 07/31 2014 07:56PM

Updated 07/31 2014 08:04PM

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt - The investigation continues in the death of a construction worker along I-89 in South Burlington.

Robert Stanhope, 61, was struck and killed Wednesday night near MM 86 while working in a construction zone.

The Vermont State Police Traffic Safety Division is taking the lead in this investigation.

Investigators said a 22-year-old South Burlington woman hit Stanhope as he was picking up line stripe markers in the work zone around 11:15 pm.

"The operator immediately pulled over and stopped, so at this time we don't believe speed is a factor in the crash and we're working with the department of labor, VTrans to figure out all the factors of this

investigation. It's a very active, on-going investigation at this point," said Lt. Garry Scott, VSP Traffic Safety Division

State police said the speed limit was 65 mph.

The preliminary investigation shows the woman was not speeding or impaired.

ABC22/FOX44 asked if police believed she may have been texting or using a cellphone.

They said that is part of the investigation.

"It's very difficult to determine that in the investigation because when you have an incident like this. What time the person dials 911 and what time they may have been texting or sent that text, if the text isn't

stamped there's no timestamp to it, so it doesn't show up in a subpoena record. So it's very difficult to conclusively say texting and cellphone use could be part of contributing factor to the crash," Scott said.

Stanhope was employed by Whitcomb Construction Company, contractors hired on by VTrans to complete paving along the interstate.

Whitcomb Representatives did not want to comment about the accident.

State police is working with the Department of Labor and Vermont Agency of Transportation to find out if all parties involved were in compliance with state and federal regulations.

"The lighting, the sign package, how were the workers clothed, the conditions of the highway. You can just think of a whole host of items we need to evaluate, and how anything we had setup on the highway played a

role in this accident occuring," said Richard Tereault, VTrans Chief Engineer Highway Division.

According to VTrans, the last fatal accident in a construction zone was 3 years ago along Route 100 near Newport.

Vermont state police said on average there's 35 to 50 crashes a year, and plenty of close calls.

VTrans said they reviewed all lighting and equipment used for the job.

The job is actually shut down until VTrans evaluates the situation further.

Investigators are also looking at the woman's vehicle to check if there may have been a mechanical error, but it may take a month or so until the investiagtion is complete

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