Road worker dies week after work zone crash

Ron Davis was hurt in an I-5 crash on June 6

Ron Davis in an undated courtesy photo provided by his family on June 14, 2017
Ron Davis in an undated courtesy photo provided by his family on June 14, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A veteran road worker died Tuesday night, more than a week after being hit in a construction zone crash along I-5 near Wilsonville.

Ron Davis, who spent 25 years with Knife River construction, was injured June 6 in the early morning crash. He was rushed to Legacy Emmanuel for treatment, but succumbed to his injuries. He was 57.

In a statement, his wife Sheila said:

“I woke up today a widow. My best friend and husband of 24 years passed away last night in my arms. I loved him so much. This did not have to happen, and I am going to do whatever I can to keep it from happening to someone else. We need to work together – the public, the construction industry, ODOT, law enforcement, all of us – to make work zones safer for everyone.”

On the day of the crash, Knife River regional president Brian Gray said Davis was a supervisor “at the top of his game.” On Wednesday, he issued this statement:

“Ron’s death is a tragedy for his family and a huge blow to us. He was part of our Knife River family for almost 25 years. What we feel today, and what we have felt for the past eight days, is profound sadness. His death should not be in vain. If this raises awareness about driving safely around construction and helps to make work zones safer for our team members and the public, that would be a fitting legacy for Ron. We will work with ODOT, law enforcement and whomever we need to in order to make that happen.”

Gray said Davis and 20-year-old Antonio Manuel Bahena were taking down a road closure sign as they prepared for a 10-mile paving project.

Colin Cook, 27, was arrested after crashing into construction workers, June 6, 2017. (OSP)

“We had 2 lanes closed and we were getting ready to open that back up to traffic,” Gray said. “They were both in an F-250 pickup and they were inside the road closure with plenty of signage and warnings.”

But a vehicle went through the construction barrels and hit the back of the pickup, causing serious injuries to the 2 workers, and then fled the scene.

Bahena was treated and released from a hospital later that day.

Colin Michael Cook was found and arrested by Oregon State Police and is being held in the Marion County Jail. The 27-year-old Fairview resident faces charges of failing to perform the duties of a driver, 2nd-degree assault, reckless driving and reckless endangering.

Additional charges may be forthcoming.