Officials: Roadway inspected before chunk of concrete fell on car

DOT: August was deadliest month on roads so far this year

Investigators are revealing new details after piecing together details about Tuesday’s freak accident on Highway 151 and Interstate 39/90 in Madison when a chunk of concrete crashed through a passing motorist’s windshield, injuring him.

SLIDESHOW: See images of interstate falling concrete incident

Dane County investigators said that the incident has been ruled accidental. They said the softball-sized piece of concrete was road material that was likely dislodged by another vehicle and fell from Highway 151 onto Kevin Droz’s Pontiac Grand Prix as he drove north on Interstate 39/90. Droz, 50, of Fall River, was seriously injured when the concrete crashed through the windshield and hit him in head.

However, in an odd turn of events, the northbound portion of Highway 151 was just inspected for safety on Monday and state Department of Transpiration officials said that there were no signs of any safety concerns.

“(That part of the highway) takes a tremendous amount of abuse from vehicles from all shapes and sizes,” said DOT spokesman Mike Bie. “And unfortunately, something like this can happen quickly. And as a result, there was a freak accident that resulted.”

The piece of concrete apparently came from a part of the roadway just past the American Parkway exit. DOT workers have already repaired the joint where the road meets the bridge, which was believed to be the source for the concrete. The Dane County Sheriff’s Department said that a four-foot long chuck of concrete broke off, which sent a smaller chuck into Droz’s vehicle.

DOT officials said that they contract with local county highway departments to help inspect their highways and the inspections happen on a weekly basis, if not more often. Dane County highway crews inspected the area on Monday and said they found no issues.

While something like this happening is so rare, county officials said that road conditions and integrity can change very rapidly especially during this time of year. Dane County Highway Department Commissioner Jerry Mandli said that his workers take pride in maintaining good roads, but sometimes things happen beyond their control.

“It’s challenging because things change so quickly,” Mandli said. “While we’re out there monitoring it, the DOT is monitoring it, we don’t always see everything right away even though we try to.”

Department officials said that there are more than 2,500 lane miles for them to monitor. Officials said that about 70,000 cars and trucks pass by this stretch of Highway 151 each day, WISC-TV reported.


Mandli said while this was a rare incident, it’s always important to keep good distance between vehicles and that driver should be alert.

Droz is currently listed in fair condition at the University of Wisconsin Hospital, authorities said.