The Champaign County Sheriff's Office is still trying to piece together what happened. What we do know is both Hartrick and the truck driver were heading south on Route 45 when they crashed. Friends of Stephen Hartrick say he's a man that brought a little sunshine to everyone early in the morning. Friend Ryan Mumm says, " I would say he's happy go lucky, cheery guy, good guy." For the last several weeks, Hartrick and 30 of his colleagues have been repaving Route 45 overnight. This morning, Hartrick was packing up for the day, driving a roller back to a shed when a truck rear ended him throwing him to the ground. " We don't have any reasons to believe speed or any foul play, " Lieutenant Allen Jones of the Sheriff's Office says.
The truck driver, 31 year old James Blackburn from southern Illinois told investigators, "he's making some lane changes trying to avoid some construction equipment and struck the vehicle, did he say he saw the vehicle? he didn't see it. " No tickets have been issued and while the investigation continues, Hartrick's co-workers are reaching out to each other. Hartrick worked for University Construction for more than 12 years. Vice-President John Peisker says everyone is taking this very hard. " As we grieve over this lost, our hearts are heaviest for his grieving family and our thoughts and prayers are certainly with them."
Counselors are available for the 30 workers that were working on the project. Friends say a few years ago, Hartrick lost a son in a construction accident.
His company has set up a memorial fund at Main Street Bank and Trust.
IDOT moved the project overnight for safety reasons, and even after this accident, it feels that time is still safer for workers. It is reviewing the safety features that are in place. It says at the very least, the center lane was blocked off with drums and there were signs. Construction on this project has been canceled for the rest of the week..