Area where Verizon worker was killed marked as work zone

LITTLE HEAVEN — A 41-year-old Dover man died Monday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash on Del. 1, police said.

The Delaware State Police said Heath B. Janssen was hit and killed while on the highway’s southbound shoulder standing behind his work truck at approximately 1:55 p.m.

According to authorities, Mr. Janssen, a Verizon employee had just completed a check of phone lines under a manhole cover and was loading equipment into the back of his box truck when struck.

Police said the incident occurred when a Mitsubishi Montero driven by Zachary M. Krytzer, 27, of Milton drifted off the road just south of Clapham Road, striking a mailbox and road reflector before pinning Mr. Janssen to the rear of his work vehicle.

The truck was stopped on the southbound shoulder surrounded by cones north of the entrance to the Valero gas station at 7865 Bay Road, police said.

Police said the Verizon truck was pushed forward about 36 feet on the southbound shoulder while the Montero continued southbound an additional 23 feet and came to a stop.

Mr. Janssen was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. Krytzer, who was properly restrained, was removed from the scene by EMS and transported to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital and admitted with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit continued to investigate and police said charges are forthcoming. Police said that prior to the crash, the Montero was reported by witnesses to have been weaving between both southbound lanes of Del. 1.

Del. 1 southbound was closed at Clapham Road for 3 1/2 hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.

DelDOT’s response

On Wednesday, Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan has issued a statement about the incident:

“For the second time in less than one month, Delaware and DelDOT are mourning the loss of another worker killed in a highway work zone. Our entire agency is deeply saddened by the loss yesterday of Heath Janssen and our sympathies go out to his family, friends and his fellow employees at Verizon. Heath lost his life while working out of his van parked on the shoulder of Delaware Route 1.

“The area was clearly identified as part of the work zone for the Little Heaven Grade Separated Interchange Project and safety cones were in place around his work area.

“All drivers need to be aware they put themselves and the men and women who work along our roads at grave risk when they fail to slow down and be attentive to traffic control devices in work zones. It is simply unacceptable to lose brave highway workers in needless crashes that could be avoided.

“Too many drivers are speeding through work zones and are failing to pay attention behind the wheel. Drivers in Delaware can and must do better.”

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