SYRACUSE — The official police report contains additional information concerning an accident that occurred Friday, July 26, when a construction worker in Syracuse was struck and killed by a vehicle.
At 1:51 p.m. Friday, July 26, Benjamin Fisher, 29, Plymouth, and a coworker, Laura McCollister, 40, South Bend, were removing road construction signs along SR 13 in a utility pole project area north of East Waco Drive, Syracuse. Fisher and McCollister were loading the signs into a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which was parked facing south along the west side of SR 13.
Joshua Ratliff, 33, North Webster, was driving a 2000 Ford F150, traveling south on SR 13.
McCollister told police she was with Fisher and they were retrieving road construction signs. McCollister stated all caution lights on the truck were activated.
McCollister said she and Fisher were picking up the last sign, which read “Flagger Ahead.” McCollister said she picked up the sign, folded it and placed it in the back of the pickup truck. She said Fisher picked up the flag stand and put it in the back passenger side of the pickup truck.
According to McCollister, she then went to the passenger side of the pickup truck and had just put one foot inside the vehicle when she heard Fisher yell, “Laura, move!”
McCollister said she stepped back out of the truck and was pushed by the truck, then rolled down an embankment. When she looked up, she saw Fisher on the ground in front of the truck.
Ratliff said he was traveling south on SR 13, coming from Syracuse. He said he saw Fisher leaning into the bed of the pickup truck on the driver side. Ratliff said Fisher was standing off the roadway while leaning into the bed of the pickup.
According to Ratliff, Fisher stepped back away from the pickup truck as Ratliff was passing it. Ratliff said he was traveling at about 40 mph at the time his vehicle struck Fisher and that traffic was traveling northbound.
A deputy read Ratliff the Indiana fatal/serious bodily injury crash implied consent card, and Ratliff agreed to take the test. The deputy took Ratlff to Kosciusko Community Hospital where a blood draw was performed. Results of the blood draw are pending.
A witness said he was traveling south on SR 13 and saw Fisher leaning into the bed of the pickup truck. According to the witness, the pickup truck was parked with the back driver side tire on the west side of the fog line approximately 1 foot and the front driver side tire approximately 18-24 inches on the west side of the fog line.
The witness observed Fisher put something in the back of the pickup and then walk toward the driver’s door of the vehicle. The witness said he was able to get into the opposite lane of travel to avoid colliding with Fisher. The witness said once he was past the pickup truck he heard a loud noise and when he looked back he saw that Fisher had been struck.
McCollister was checked by medics due to leg pain. Ratliff said he was not injured.
Fisher was pronounced dead at the scene by the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office.
Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Turkey Creek Fire Territory, Syracuse Police Department, North Webster Police Department, North Webster Fire Department and Lutheran Air Ambulance also responded to the scene.