CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Neil Gilreath was wrapping up another night at work on his micro-surface grinder on dead mans curve when he heard a crunching noise behind him, when he turned around all he could do was brace for impact.
“Right when I turned on the headlights they were right there, and all I could do was roll to the inside of the machine and hope for the best,” Gilreath said.
Gilreath heard the crunching of metal and knew right away the out of control Jeep had smashed into his machine.
“I thought I was dead, I thought that was the end for me, I truly did, I thought that was my last night alive,” Gilreath remembered.
But Gilreath had survived and incredibly enough, the machine he was driving was enough to protect him from the impact.
He was shaken up and his heart was racing so paramedics took him to the hospital where he checked out fine and was back on the job the very next day.
The experience however is one that he will never forget and one he never wants to experience again.
Gilreath, like all highway construction workers, said he has become accustomed to working on a road where drivers are buzzing by, sometimes barely even slowing down in the construction zone.
“Everyone has their own life, their own family, people that depend on those people and they want to see them come home,” he said.
Gilreath hopes that people, after multiple wrecks in local construction zones, will slow down to try and keep everyone safe.
“Absolutely, they are going beyond too fast and I can’t tell you the number of people I see driving by on their phones,” he said.
Gilreath travels all over the country operating the Dot Diamond Grinder, which is a very specialized piece of equipment, and he says the problem of speeding in construction zones is not unique to Northeast Ohio and wants all drivers to give workers a break.