Fatal work zone crash under investigation

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Patch used by permission of Lt. Robert Sell of the JCSO

A fatal work zone crash is under investigation in Jefferson County, West Virginia, on Route 340 near mile marker 1.

Just north of the intersection with Lewisville Road shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, flagger Kathy A. Ruth had stopped traffic in the area of the highway widening project.

A motorist drove up to the work zone at a high rate of speed and swerved toward the embankment to miss the stopped traffic, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation. The vehicle struck Ruth and trapped her underneath it.

Witnesses and fellow road workers attempted to lift the car to move her before emergency personnel arrived. Ruth, 62, of Mount Hope, W.Va., was transported to Jefferson Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased.

“I’m very sad for the family and our partner, A.L.L. Construction,” said Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E. “It’s so senseless that we can’t seem to make better choices when we get behind the wheel of our automobiles. I implore all drivers to please lay down your cell phone, stay focused, and obey all the rules of the road, especially in the many work zones around the state.”
Five people were killed in work zone crashes in West Virginia in 2023, according WVDOT. On March 14, a WVDOT worker was struck and badly injured at the scene of an accident in Clarksburg. On March 29, a WVDOT worker was patching potholes on Interstate 79 when a driver drove through the work zone and struck him. His injuries were minor

Clarke County authorities assisted in the investigation of the Route 340 incident at the state line. Jefferson County Sheriff Office continues to investigate this incident.