ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - A mother is still searching for answers, after her son died while working on the I-4 Ultimate project.
Kelly Franklin said her 34-year-old son, Marvin, was the first person killed while working on the massive 21-mile makeover of Interstate 4 back in February of 2016. According to investigators, a dump truck backed into him in Eatonville, killing the father of three.
"The coroner told me my son was identified by finger prints because his face was unrecognizable, due to being backed over by a dump truck on the I-4 project," Franklin said.
Later, in December of that same year, investigators said worker Curtis Popkey was killed after being struck by a steel stand, records show, no citation was issued. In March of 2018, Michael Tolman was killed, after being hit by rebar near the Amway Center. The company Shelby Erectors was cited and contractor SGL said this during a news conference:
"We will be reviewing the safety protocols in place and we will take all the appropriate action."
Two weeks ago, James Mills was killed after a steel pipe fell on him. Franklin is concerned more workers will die.
"We don't want another family to go through what we're going through. The loss is just tremendous," she said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited contractor SGL in Marvin's case, calling the violation serious. They were fined more than $12,000. OSHA also directed SGL to develop an internal traffic control plan inside construction work zones, to minimize backing and other conflicts between employees and work vehicles.
However, on February 4, deputies said James Mills got on a trailer carrying a large steel pipe, which then rolled over and killed him. SGL said they retrained workers and went over safety protocols. The same week, as work continued, three workers were injured after falling from a platform while pouring cement.
"They need to have repercussions," Franklin said.
"Safety is obviously paramount when you talk about transportation," Florida Gov. DeSantis said of the construction-related deaths. "If I have to take action, I think one thing you know about me in the short time is, when action is required, I won't hesitate to do it."
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released this statement saying, "After incidents such as this, the Florida Department of Transportation requests the contractor submit a plan of action to improve safety; and that the contractor implements and adheres to those plans."
FDOT’s vision statement specifies, “As one FDOT team, we serve the people of Florida by providing a transportation network that is well planned, supports economic growth, and has the goal of being congestion and fatality free.” It is our view the goal of fatality free extends to FDOT construction and maintenance projects, and to the contractors that perform the work.