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PennDOT employee hit by oversized load in work zone

The employee was in an active work zone along the Cross Valley Expressway.

A PennDOT employee was rushed to the hospital Monday. 

State police said Thomas Vitale, 52, of Nanticoke was using a jackhammer along the Cross Valley Expressway in Plains Township when he was hit by an oversized load carrying two sheds.

"His wife explained everything that happened, and she sounded upset, so I knew it was serious," friend Jason Makarewicz said.

Vitale is now being treated at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre. Friends said he has several broken bones.

"They do have to do a few surgeries. He has a broken back or neck, pelvis," friend Scott Adams said.

The driver of that oversized load is from Dauphin County. There is no word yet from state police on any charges.

All of this happened on the first day of Work Zone Awareness Week in the U.S.

PennDOT employees said crashes like these are sadly not uncommon, but folks can avoid them.

"There are a couple thousand work zone accidents that happen per year. Make sure that you're going the posted speed limit, and just be careful out there. Make sure that you're paying attention and that you're not driving distracted," PennDOT Community Relations Coordinator Jessica Kalinoski said.

"This isn't the first time, you hear it all the time. You always hear it on the news of someone getting hit. Just slow down and move over. It's not hard. It's not difficult. I mean, you're taking someone's life in your hands," Makarewicz said. 

Friends said it will likely be some time before Vitale is fully healed.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help on his long road to recovery.

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