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ODOT worker deals with memory loss, headaches 1 year after being hit by car on Akron highway

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 18:32:43-04

AKRON, Ohio — Steve MacAdam lined up about 20 bottles of medications and vitamins on the kitchen counter of his Cuyahoga Falls home.

Doctors have suggested multiple combinations to help with his terrible headaches. Sometimes the pills bring relief, but nothing has cured the daily pain.

"They're (the headaches) literally every single day. Every single day, MacAdam said.

He's also frustrated with another ongoing problem: short-term memory loss.

"There's a lot of things from two or three weeks ago that there's just zero memory of," he told News 5. "There's a chance I may not remember this in a week."

One year after he was hit by a car on I-76 in Akron, MacAdam, 46, shared his struggles to help people understand the lingering effects of the accident.

"It lasts. This lasts a lifetime for me. I'm 100% a different person than I was one year ago and I can't change that," he said.

MacAdam, a bridge specialist, was seriously hurt on the morning of September 22, 2020. He suffered a brain injury, a torn leg muscle, and a lot of bruising.

MacAdam exited his ODOT issued Dodge Durange and started walking on the shoulder of I-76 East near the Grant Street bridge to inspect a culvert. The lights on the large SUV were flashing at the time.

Moments later, he heard screeching sounds behind him and saw a car crash into the center median wall. The vehicle veered off the wall and came straight towards MacAdam.

His decision to jump at the last second may have lessened the impact on his body. Still, witnesses said he was thrown about 15-feet in the air by the car, which was traveling 55-miles-per-hour, according to police.

"I do see that jumping definitely saved my life," he said. "I went up and over his vehicle and landed actually in the slow lane of traffic."

Police said the 49-year-old driver, of Ravenna, had fallen asleep at the wheel. He was charged with failure to control his vehicle.

Ohio's Move Over Law requires drivers to move over and slow down for any stationary vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road. The law applies to vehicles with flashing lights of any color, including law enforcement officers, emergency responders, road construction, maintenance vehicles, utility crews, and tow trucks.

ODOT reported 125 cases of workers, their vehicles or equipment being hit by cars in 2020 on U.S routes, state routes, and intersections in Ohio. There have been 109 cases in 2021.

RELATED: More than 25,000 move-over citations reported in Ohio over 5 years

According to the state records, 162 ODOT employees have been killed on the job in the history of the agency. The last worker killed was John Pasko who was hit by a car on I-680 in Youngstown in March of 2018.

MacAdam is urging people to be aware of the dangers of driving distracted or tired.

"Maybe to think twice before answering the phone, responding to that text, or getting behind the wheel when you don't have a great night's sleep and you're really tired," he said.

He hopes that by sharing his difficult story, drivers will exercise more caution and other highway workers will stay safe.

"Because there's somebody else on the other end of that accident and they have to live with the effects and living with those effects is life-changing."

RELATED: ODOT worker hit by car on Akron highway sends message to drivers