Construction worker seriously injured

By Chuck Weber email

PALM SPRINGS, FL (WFLX)-A construction worker suffered serious injuries after being hit by a pick-up truck, while retrieving cones from the road.

It happened before dawn Friday morning on Forest Hill Boulevard, just east of Kirk Road, in Palm Springs. The paving crew from J. W. Cheatham Company was wrapping up its work for the night.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says 54-year old Ernest Howell of Clewiston, was inside the designated construction area. Sheriff's Lt. Michael Reardon says in spite of a 'flashing arrow' sign instructing drivers to merge, the driver of a small pick-up truck, Tiffany Lanieri, never braked. Lt. Reardon says Lanieri hit Howell first, then plowed into the construction company's truck and the trailer carrying the flashing sign.

Howell was flown by Trauma Hawk to Delray Medical Center. The Sheriff's Office says Howell suffered injuries to his pelvic area, leg fractures, and a brain bruise. The injuries are serious, but he is expected to survive. Investigators say a second worker who stood between the construction truck and the trailer, managed to jump out of the way and avoid becoming a second casualty.

Investigators say they cannot rule out the possibility alcohol may have been involved. They drew blood from Lanieri. So far no charges have been filed. A passenger in her truck was not injured.

The crash caused police to close east bound lanes of Forest Hill for about three hours.