Construction worker killed in crash; southbound US-41 bridge was closed for hours

Published: January 12, 2022 7:57 AM EST
Updated: January 12, 2022 6:17 PM EST

A crash killed a construction worker as he crossed US-41 in Port Charlotte on Wednesday morning.

The crash brought traffic to a standstill causing the southbound lanes of the US-41 bridge out of Port Charlotte into Punta Gorda to shut down for hours.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, an 18-year-old man from North Port was driving a car south in the left lane of US-41, south of Main Street, around 6:45 a.m.

A 50-year-old man from Englewood was attempting to cross west over the southbound US-41 travel lanes when he entered the path of the car and was struck.

The construction worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

The crash happened right next door to the construction work at the Sunseeker Resort.

The man was crossing the street to start his workday on the site.

Allegiant and Suffolk Construction, the companies behind the Sunseeker Resort, declined to comment about the loss of one of their workers.

A woman who works the early morning shift at the gas station nearby said the man who died was a regular of hers.

He went into the gas station to order his usual cup of coffee and was crossing the roadway to get back to work.

“It’s really sad because we see him every day, you know, for like, since they started working on this like three, four months ago,” said Mary Lou Dykstra, who works at the gas station. “We like know all of those guys.”

She didn’t realize her regular was the victim until a trooper came inside and asked to watch their surveillance video, she said.

“That’s when we figured out who it was. Because he was the only one who was crossing the street. There was nobody else around,” Dykstra. “They said he had the orange jacket with the stickers all over his hardhat and stuff.”

Dykstra said that the stretch of road has always been dangerous especially in the dark which is when the crash happened.

“Yeah, because the only walkway is if you go across this parking lot, go underneath 41 and go back up. Who’s gonna do that in the dark? You know, they really need something while those guys are working there,” she said.

Charlotte County said it has no plans to install a traffic light there.

The County wants pedestrians to use crosswalks or the pedestrian walkway that goes underneath the bridge to get across.

The Florida Highway Patrol will not say whether the teenage driver will face any charges.

The Florida Highway Patrol no longer releases the names of individuals involved in traffic crashes citing Marsy’s Law.