DIRECTOR'S ZONE, DECEMBER 2007
It is with great sadness to have learned of the loss of John Erick Knabenbauer, District 8 Maintenance Equipment Operator II. A fatal accident took his life on November 28 on the I-215 Freeway at Fifth Street while he was in the process of removing a dead dog from the gore point. A motorist in the number two lane moved over to exit the freeway and struck him while in the line of duty. John was 42 and began his Caltrans career in District 7 in May 1990 and then transferred to District 8 in October 1995 where he most recently worked out of the Magana Ortega Yard in Fontana. He leaves a wife, Jeannette and an 18 year old daughter.
Our most heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to the Knabenbauer family. One hundred sixty-nine Caltrans employees have been killed in the line of duty since 1924.
It is important to keep safety our number one priority, as we face the many challenges of the new year together.
We have had a very good year and have accomplished a lot of good work – together. I appreciate everyone who has stepped up to the plate to complete important projects. A particularly good example is all of the great support received to re-open the southbound I-5 truck tunnel at State Route 14. Please read more about this in the article in this newsletter. Not only did this emergency project receive major press coverage, but in addition, on November 28 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke to a number of national elected officials, including several Governors, specifically pointing out the I-5 project here and other efforts as “things that the state is doing right!” Caltrans has definitely caught the attention of our Governor, and we are very thankful and proud of that.
This is also a time to renew our pledge for safety on the job -- and to continue doing all we can to work safety features into Caltrans projects. That means for Caltrans Designers, Planners to design and plan projects that are safer and easier for our field staff to construct and maintain. That also means that our Construction and Maintenance and other field staff must redouble their efforts for safety – and to always be keenly aware of the dangers inherent to our work.
Every year at this time, we are also reminded of the importance of spending time with family and close friends. Please remember to drive cautiously and safely while out on the road this holiday season. I send my heartfelt thanks to everyone for a successful year – and my wishes for a joyous and happy new year ahead.