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Md. official: Highway worker violated protocols

[This post has been updated]

Authorities investigating the death of a highway worker killed by a hit and run driver on Route 50 in Anne Arundel County early Thursday say the contract employee had violated protocols.

Normally when the contracting company which deploys devices that track traffic volume plans to work on their equipment they e-mail the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) in advance and either a state vehicle with flashing lights or a state police patrol car with flashing lights is dispatched to alert approaching drivers of the work zone, according to David Buck of the SHA.

In this instance, Buck said, the state received no prior notification and the man was working alone on a dark stretch of Route 50 eastbound between Route 2 and Baydale Drive.

The victim, 52-year-old Ghassen "Gus" Sabra, of Goldsboro, N.C., was wearing reflective clothing, Buck said. Investigators believe Sabra was hit twice, first by an unknown vehicle, which sent him into an adjacent lane, and then by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer driver was not charged.

His vehicle was parked on the right shoulder with a light activated on top, and he was struck in the left lane of three, Buck said. It was not clear whether he was laying down or taking up the slender rubber tubes that are put across all lanes and connected to a counter box that normally is chained to the guard rail.

"All of us at the State Highway Administration are saddened by the loss," said State Highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathy to Mr. Sabra's family and friends, as well as to Sabra, Wang and Associates."

A statement from the company described Sabra as "a loyal, hard working man who enjoyed his work and the colleagues and clients he worked with." The statement said he is survived by his wife and three children.

Ambulance personnel, who happened almost immediately upon the accident, tried to administer care but the victim was dead, police said. Police are asking for information from any motorists who were in the area of eastbound Route 50 and Bay Dale Drive between 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.

Maryland State Police should be contacted at 410-761-5130. Calls may be kept confidential.

-- Ashley Halsey III and Mike McPhate

By Michael Bolden  |  June 3, 2010; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Safety  
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