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Charges pending in deadly Wood County work zone crash

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Highway crews perform difficult and sometimes dangerous work on West Virginia’s roads each day, said state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox after the death of a worker Thursday.

“It’s dangerous enough, that type of work as it is, but to do it under traffic conditions, people just need to slow down and pay attention,” he said.

The Division of Highways employee died after a tanker truck started a chain-reaction crash in a work zone along Route 50 in Wood County.

Randall Bland, 49, of Waverly was killed after being pinned between a van and a DOH truck. Mattox confirmed Bland was a DOH crew supervisor who had worked with the division for 12 years.

At least five other people, including several children, were hurt in the accident that happened about 2 p.m. Thursday near Route 50’s intersection with Dutch Ridge Road.

“It’s just so sad to lose someone who was only 49 years old in a work zone,” Mattox said Friday on MetroNews “Talkine.”

“We do our best to try to get the public to slow down and pay attention when they enter these work zones and these tragedies can be avoided.”

Charges were pending against the truck’s driver, according to investigators with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department. No charges had been filed as of Friday morning, however.

The truck was owned by Hall Drilling, LLC.

In a separate accident Thursday morning, a Randolph County man was killed along Route 219 when a DOH van struck him. The victim was identified as Earl Franklin Woods, Jr., of Valley Head.

No charges were filed against the driver following a preliminary investigation from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department.

Both in and out of work zones, Mattox said drivers need to be cautious: “When you see a work zone, please slow down and really pay attention to what you’re doing and to the surroundings that you’re entering.”

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