I-4 Ultimate project on hold after worker killed in Maitland

MAITLAND, Fla. — A construction worker was killed Wednesday morning after being run over by a fellow worker at an I-4 Ultimate construction site in Maitland, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Riomar Morales, 49, of Orlando, was driving a dump truck filled with dirt when he backed up over Marvin Franklin, 34, of Orlando, at about 11:30 a.m. on an eastbound shoulder of Interstate 4 near the Maitland-Eatonville city limits, said FHP Sgt. Kim Montes.

Franklin was pronounced dead at the scene, Montes said.

Franklin had only been with the company for a month.

“The cause of the accident is not known at this time, and we will conduct an investigation in partnership with local authorities,” a company spokesman for Skanska Granite Lane,  the construction joint venture working on the I-4 Ultimate project, said in a statement. “Our focus now is to ensure we support individuals and families as they deal with this tragic event.”

The entire 21-mile job site was secured and shut down, the company said.

“At the point in time we are going to open when we are ready to open,” said the project’s director, James Brookshire. “We are not going to go back to work until we are confident that everybody has had the proper training and right focus.”

Work on the project could resume Friday morning, but that timeline isn't definite, officials said.

"I saw the man lying there [and] I thought maybe he was injured," said Ferren Harrell, a nurse. "I didn't see an ambulance yet, so I figured as a nurse I'd stop by to give a helping hand."

Between the wind and traffic noise, it's possible the victim didn't hear the beeping sound as the truck backed up, Harrell said.

“All we know at this time is the dump truck was making a sand delivery to the area at the intersection of Kennedy and Highmore, but we really don’t have any other details at this time,” Brookshire said.

Skanska Granite Lane is cooperating with the investigation.

There are 400 employees and 200 supervisors working on the project.