ODOT worker killed in the line of duty honored
TULSA (FOX 23) - A transportation worker who lost his life in the line of duty is honored.
A section of Highway 75 was dedicated to Ira Henderson. He died November 30th, 2011 while inside a work zone near Ramona.
Henderson had only been with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for five months when he was struck by a vehicle in a work zone.
His wife Lisa will never forget where she was the day she learned her beloved husband had been taken from her.
"I was at work and I got a text message from my brother in law asking me if I heard from my husband, and I tried to call him and couldn't get a hold of him,” says Lisa.
Ira is the 56th ODOT worker to be killed in the line of duty, however there have been 57 total workers overall. His family wants the pubic to remember who he really was.
"He had a good sense of humor and was kind and gentle and had a great smile, and he just loved everybody,” says Lisa.
To honor his memory, signs bearing his name greet drivers along Highway 75.
"We'll cherish those signs and take care of the signs and hopefully somebody driving by will look at that, and think about what they're doing before they get into a work zone,” says ODOT supervisor, Brian Sutton.
ODOT has lost more workers in the line of duty than any other state agency and the numbers are staggering. 13 people were killed in Oklahoma highway work zones in 2011. That’s actually down from 2010 when 18 people died.
"I want people to slow down in the work zones and pay attention. This shouldn't have to happen again,” says Lisa.
Research shows the greatest number of collisions happened from speeding, people following too close and inattentive drivers. In this case, prosecutors believe the driver was high on drugs.
"It's very imperative that you quite reading newspapers, you quite talking on the phone and you quite texting,” says Sutton.
The Ira Henderson Memorial is located just north of Ramona in Washington County.