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National Work Zone Awareness Week kicks off to help protect construction workers

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Posted at 7:09 AM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 07:09:22-04

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, reminding drivers to slow down in work zones so construction workers can go home to their families.

“As a mother, you know, being told that your son is not going to survive. It is really hard,” said Leslie Fonzi-Lynch.

Lynch's son, Brandyn Spychalski, was working on Peck Road in Croswell back in June of 2017 when he was hit by a tow truck driver.

He was airlifted to Ascension Saint John Hospital where his leg had to be amputated among other complications.

“The struggle that he went through was unreal. He never complained, never complained,” said Leslie.

It wasn’t until January of 2020, nearly three years after the crash, that Brandyn passed away. He leaves behind his daughter who is now 5 years old.

“He was full of life, and a loving father and his only fault was to go to work that morning,” said Leslie.

Leslie is not the only mother, or family member, to feel the pain of losing a loved one in a construction-related crash.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 842 people were killed in work zones in 2019 nationwide. That is up from 2018 when 757 people were killed in work zones.

A little closer to home, 15 people were killed in work zones in 2020 in Michigan, with a total of 4,900 crashes across the state in construction zones.

Fall 2020 was an especially tragic time for road workers here in metro Detroit. Four road workers were killed in our region during that time.

Last September 26-year-old Zachary Morisette was killed along I-94 near 9 Mile in a hit and run.

In November, Dayvon Rose and Nick Sada were both killed while working along I-94 in Ypsilanti overnight. Both only 23 years old, hit by a woman who police say was drinking and driving.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is hosting a special national work zone awareness week kickoff Tuesday at 11 a.m. along M-59 where construction is underway.

Leslie will also be there, sharing her story, along with Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul Ajegba.

MDOT will be live streaming the event.

April 28 is Go Orange Day, where people are encouraged to wear orange to show their support for families who’ve lost loved ones in work zones.