Police urging drivers to slow down in work zones after local tree trimmer hit, killed by car

On Monday morning, a driver hit a man who was working for a tree trimming company along University Boulevard in Moon Township.

Pfc. Tyler Drake died at the hospital, and now his family is urging drivers to be patient and slow down while going through work zones.

“They’re out there working,” said Moon Township Police Capt. Douglas Ogden. “And it’s important to pay attention. Get off your phone. Focus on what’s going on because lives really do depend on it.”

This was a strong message from Ogden just a couple of days after a driver hit and killed the 24-year-old in a work zone.

“He was on the roadway,” said Ogden. “He was in the work zone. The cones were there to protect him. The signs were put up to protect him, but in this case they did not.”

Drake was working for Richardson Tree and Landscape Company. He was helping to cut back the vegetation to make the road safer. A driver hit him and narrowly missed striking another worker.

Channel 11 spoke to John Richardson, the owner of the tree trimming service, over the phone. He said, “Tyler was a wonderful, caring person and a wonderful, caring employee. One of the most respected and patriotic people we had working at our company.”

Drake was also a member of the National Guard. In his obituary, his family requested people take the pledge to Go Orange PA to help ensure that both contracted and construction workers’ lives matter.

“It’s just a tragic loss,” said Ogden.

Ogden says the driver stopped at the scene and is cooperating with law enforcement. At this time, no charges have been filed.

“If, at the end of this investigation, there’s a decision that criminal charges might be applicable due to the nature of the crash and the fact that a human being died in the crash, we will discuss our findings with the District Attorney, and after that conversation, if charges are appropriate, we’ll file charges,” said Ogden.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating.

Drake’s funeral is scheduled for Nov. 12. The Guard is planning a 21-gun salute.

This is the second fatal crash that happened on University Boulevard in one week.

“One is at one end of the road, and the other was near the Coraopolis end,” said Ogden. “There’s nothing wrong with the road. There wasn’t anything we could do to improve the road to stop this from happening. In both cases, an investigation is taking place.”

Ogden says a seat belt could have saved the driver’s life in the first fatal crash.

“My message is always the same: Slow down,” said Ogden. “Pay attention. Put on your seat belt.”

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