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September 9, 2009 - Worker Killed by Flying Truck Wheel

A woman was killed on Interstate 80 Tuesday after being hit by a wheel that had come loose off a passing tractor-trailer.

The woman, 53-year-old Robyn Pittman, was a roller operator for Western Engineering Company, said state patrol investigators. She was standing in the interstate's median with other workers when she was hit.

Another worker was also hit by a wheel. Scott Herdt, 45, was taken to a hospital in serious condition with head and back injuries. The two were standing near a Nebraska Department of Roads vehicle when two wheels came loose. An NDOR worker was sitting inside the vehicle when one of the wheels hit the driver's-side door. The worker was not seriously hurt.

Investigators said the rig, which was a Western Engineering Company vehicle pulling a belly dump truck, was headed east when a set of wheels came off the trailer. The rig's driver wasn't aware of the problem and continued until Exit 95 to dump the truck's load. On his way back past the scene, workers noticed the missing wheels and radioed the driver to stop.

Troopers inspected the rig and found 16 violations.

The driver, 30-year-old Geary Ussery, of North Platte, was cited for the violations.

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