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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

Shooting shuts I-75 work site

Construction company threatens to walk off multimillion-dollar job

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A road construction company is considering quitting a multimillion-dollar job in Toledo’s central city after three employees were shot at Monday morning.

None of the men working in the I-75 construction zone, near Bancroft Street, was injured when bullets started flying at 3:30 a.m., but rounds — five or six of them — zipped past the trio, and several pinged off the wall behind them.

“It makes no sense,” said Jonathon Claxton, vice president of American Roadway Logistics Inc., which is based in Richmond, Ohio. “We’re trying to do good work. We’re trying to help the community. Why would the community shoot at us?”

The construction workers, who were taking measurements for eventual striping of the highway, told police that a silver vehicle, southbound on the interstate, slowed down near the construction site and then opened fire. The vehicle took off, and police said they have no suspects.

Shot at were Esteban Lebron, 43, of Cleveland, Alan McConnell, 59, of Euclid, Ohio, and Joseph Mann, 44, of Norwalk, Ohio.

Because none of the men are from the Toledo area, officials think the shooting was random and not targeted.

Construction at that section of interstate began about four weeks ago and is expected to last until 2015. The project is expected to cost about $26 million.

“What I’m concerned about is our long-term presence out on the job,” Mr. Claxton said. “I’m concerned about the safety of our employees. Is it worth it to proceed when our men are being shot at?”

After the shooting was reported, the job site was closed down for the night, several hours ahead of schedule.

Roadwork in that construction zone is scheduled to take place between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., said Theresa Pollick, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Mr. Claxton said he intends to speak with Toledo police to see if anything can be done to protect employees at the site. Whether accommodations can be made will likely determine whether American Roadway Logistics stays on the job.

“We do a lot of work for ODOT, but the value of a job is not worth the value of a life,” he said.

Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said officers can be hired to work off duty, sitting in a patrol vehicle with lights on at construction sites to slow down traffic.

The company has had problems on job sites before, but usually those problems are stolen or vandalized equipment, never shootings.

“We are aware that there could be potential issues, but nothing this drastic,” Mr. Claxton said. “It’s just unfortunate when these situations happen. I don’t understand the mentality. What’s your reward for that? … It just doesn’t make sense.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at:

tdungjen@theblade.com,

419-724-6054, or on

Twitter @taylordungjen.



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