The Virginia Department of Transportation is begging drivers to be careful after a close call Thursday night in Vienna.
When severe weather knocked a tree onto the southbound lanes of Rt. 123, VDOT Incident Management Coordinator Johnny Stafford parked his truck and rerouted traffic into the northbound lanes. Then, it happened: a driver barreled through, rear-ending the truck and narrowly missing both Stafford and a police officer.
"We want people to realize that these are not just cones that are out in the road that they're going to be running over. These are people," said VDOT Spokesperson Ellen Kamilakis.
These types of incidents happen more than you might think. Just last week, the same police officer was directing traffic when dash cam video captured him being hit by a slow-moving driver who wasn't paying attention.
Luckily that incident ended with a bruise, at most, and the one from Thursday night with a beat-up truck, but the point Kamilakis wants to make is that these completely avoidable incidents have the potential to be so much worse.
"These are people," she said. "They're lives that are going to be ruined and you don't want to live with that for the rest of your life, you really don't."