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Slow Down and Keep Roads Safe

Just outside of Barnesville, there is a new road sign that pays tribute to the late Steven Cook.

By all accounts, that is an honor he deserves. But the more valuable impact of that sign may be in calling attention to what Mr. Cook did not deserve — to be run down by an impaired and distracted motorist while he was working to improve our state’s roads.

Cook was a longtime Barnesville resident and employee of the Shelly Company. He was working in a construction zone on Interstate 70 in Columbus in September 2017 when a driver entered a blocked portion of the highway at 60-70 mph and struck him, killing Cook on impact.

Tragic incidents like this are the reason Ohio has laws that mandate that motorists must slow down and use caution when driving through construction zones. Now, Cook’s widow Linda is working not only to have her husband’s memory honored, but also to raise awareness of the dangers road crews face every day.

“We try to make people aware that there are human beings out there on the roads working, and they want to go home to their families just like everybody else. They’re just out there doing their job. They do their job in the heat, rain, cold, in all elements, so we just need to give them a break,” she said, adding that her slogan is “slow down, save a life.”

Lt. Maurice Waddell, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol St. Clairsville Post, agreed.

“We urge motorists to put down the distractions, don’t drive impaired and simply buckle up and pay close attention when you’re in a work zone,” he said. “You just never know. In a split second, you can change somebody’s life.”

Indeed.

Please, do your part. Slow down, save a life.

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