Worker filling potholes in Omaha is critically injured when struck in chain-reaction crash

A contractor filling potholes was critically injured Wednesday when he was struck in a chain-reaction crash in northwest Omaha.

Sergio Rodriguez-Lopez, 24, of Omaha, was being treated for a critical head injury at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy.

Omaha police said Rodriguez-Lopez was part of a private contractor work crew from B&W Construction that was filling potholes near 120th and Blondo Streets just after 10:05 a.m.

Steven May, 44, was driving a 2016 Dodge Ram northbound on 120th Street when his pickup truck crashed into the back of a parked Ford F-350 pickup truck with a signal arrow attached by a trailer. The Ford pickup belonged to the construction crew.

The Ram pushed the Ford forward, hitting Rodriguez-Lopez, who then fell and hit his head on the steel bucket of a skid loader, police said.

Another construction worker, Jesus A. Anguiano, 21, of Omaha, suffered a leg injury. The operator of the skid loader, Jorge Resendiz, 32, of Bellevue, was being treated for a possible back injury. Neither man required hospitalization.

May, of Omaha, was uninjured, police said, and charges were pending.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said she spoke to the president of the contracting company to express concern for the injured workers.

“This crash is an unfortunate and important reminder that drivers must be aware of work zones and the safety of our employees and our contractors’ employees as they do their jobs,” Stothert said in a prepared statement.

In February, the City Council voted 4-3 to spend $450,000 to hire outside contractors to help with filling potholes in the wake of a snowy winter that produced a bumper crop of potholes on city streets.

Local 251, which is the city’s largest civilian union, has raised concerns with reporters in recent days about some pothole-patching contractors who they said are not following city safety standards.

In Wednesday’s crash, however, investigators have not yet determined whether any safety standards were violated.

The city’s contract with private pothole crews requires the contractors to be responsible for their own traffic control and the safety of their crews, said Tim Young, the city’s human resources director.

Terry Bryson Jr., the owner of B&W Construction, declined to comment Wednesday other than to say that the crew was set up as it should have been.

“An unbelievable tragic accident,” he said.

In January 2017, Omaha public works employee Salvatore Fidone III was struck by a Toyota Camry at 144th and U Streets while Fidone was working as part of a crew preparing to repair potholes. Fidone later died. The Camry driver, Alan Solarana, was sentenced to 14 days in jail.

World-Herald staff writer Aaron Sanderford contributed to this report.

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