Man killed in I-94 work zone was Sunday school teacher, former MnDOT employee

The crash happened Oct. 2 in the middle of the afternoon in Rogers.
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The construction worker killed when he was struck by a truck on Tuesday has been identified by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office as Vernon Carl Hedquist, 59, of Pillager, Minnesota. 

Hedquist was working in a construction zone along Interstate 94 near Country Road 81 in Rogers when a semi rear-ended a truck hauling a trailer, sending it the truck into the work zone where Hedquist and another person were struck. Hedquist was pronounced dead at the scene while the other victim was transported to a hospital with injuries. 

According to an online fundraiser via GoFundMe, Hedquist was doing a geotechnical evaluation in the work zone when he was hit, a job he's done on Minnesota roads since 2014. Prior to that he had worked at the Minnesota Department of Transportation going all the way back to 1991. 

"On the day of his passing, Vern was working as part of a team collecting important data for an upcoming DOT project," the GoFundMe says. "Vern loved working as a team and was doing his job when the accident occurred."

The fundraiser says Hedquist leaves behind his wife, Cindy, and several pets. 

"My Vern loved life!" Cindy is quoted as saying in the fundraiser, which notes that Hedquist was an avid pheasant and deer hunter and an adult Sunday school teacher at his church. 

The money from the fundraiser will be used to support his wife. 

Work zone crashes in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 13 people have died in 10 work zone crashes in Minnesota this year. Seventeen people were killed in work zone crashes in 2017. 

"They can't pay attention to traffic like we do," MSP Lt. Tiffani Nielsen said Wednesday when speaking about construction workers. "They have to focus on what they're doing, and that's where they have to rely on the public to drive in a safe manner around them. 

"We're basically driving through their office everyday, and we need to drive in an attentive manner." 

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