Update: DOT worker struck by car succumbs to injuries

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The flagman struck by a vehicle as he worked on U.S. Hwy 29 succumbed to his injuries and died Monday.

Hobi Wade Hussey, 21, known as a “gentle giant” in the Victoria community, passed away at 2:20 p.m. in the SICU at Baptist South in Montgomery.

Hobi Wade Hussey

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Hussey was working with an Alabama Department of Transportation crew about 7 miles west of Troy when he was injured. His job that day was to caution drivers to slow down because there were workers present.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 14, Camden Stephens, 19, of Luverne, ran into Hussey with her Chevrolet (Geo) Prism, according to the Alabama Highway Patrol. An emergency responder from Goshen who was at the scene said the impact caused one boot and Hussey’s cell phone and radio to dislodge. Hussey was transported by Life Flight to Baptist South in Montgomery.

Signs were in place on the road that day, warning motorists that speeding fines would be doubled when workers were present. Another sign warned of work ahead. No charges have been filed, yet, according to Sgt. Steve Jarrett with the AHP, but the case is now being investigated by the AHP Traffic Homicide Unit and toxicology reports are pending from the Department of Forensic Sciences.

“Our hearts go out to Hobi Hussey’s family,” said Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper. “We appreciate workers like Hobi who dedicate themselves to making our roadways better. This is a tragic reminder that roadway maintenance is not without risks, and it comes with a serious burden of responsibility for drivers to use caution in work zones.”

A few days before Christmas, Hussey’s mother, Tammy, said that her son’s spleen and leg surgeries had gone relatively well and those portions of his body seemed to be healing. However, because there had been so much trauma to his chest and one lung, Hussey was sedated and on a ventilator. Hussey had also contracted pneumonia in his damaged lung. Doctors had told Tammy it would most likely be another couple of weeks before they attempted to wake her son up.

“His blood pressure dropped and they just weren’t able to get him back,” said Hoby’s aunt, Donna Hussey.

From the time he was 3 years old, Hussey had been around backhoes and front-end loaders as part of the family business, Hussey House Movers.

“He was all about driving tractors and things like that, that’s why he loved it when he got on with the state,” Donna said.

Toby Bragg worked for Hussey’s father and uncle at the house moving company and said he remembered Hussey coming to work with them as a child.

“He would always be in the dirt or climbing up on something trying to operate it,” Bragg said.

Bragg was already working for the Alabama Department of Transportation when Hussey was hired in February. Bragg said he was so excited to get the job.

“He would rather sit on an excavator or bulldozer than eat breakfast,” Bragg chuckled as he remembered his friend.

Bragg said Hussey had been operating a piece of equipment for the road crew the day before he was injured, but it was his turn to work as a flagman on Dec. 14.

“There aren’t words to describe how good a man he was,” Bragg said.

“Hussey Boy,” as his friends called him, was a well-mannered country boy. He liked to be outside and he loved to go “mudding.”

Tori Peters and Hussey became friends in the 8th grade. Peters said, “Wherever Hobi was, there was always a good time.”

Peters gushed about how Hussey could turn anyone’s frown upside down.

“If you were having a bad day, he could make it better and brighten up any place with his smile,” Peters said.

Julie Jackson was Hussey’s English teacher for his junior and senior years at Zion Chapel High School.

“You hate to have favorites. As a teacher, you aren’t supposed to,” Jackson confided,” but Hobi just left his mark. He was a favorite.”

Jackson said Hobi stepped in to help anyone who needed it, before they even asked. That included rounding up three of his friends to help her with a move at 5 a.m. on a Saturday.

“He was so tender hearted,” Jackson said.

Hussey was a long-time friend of Vanessa Bragg. They went to church together and Hussey worked with her husband, Toby.

“This is going to be hard,” she said, speaking of Hussey’s death. “We will see him again some day, though. We love you ‘Hussey Boy.’ ”

To see a photo gallery and video from the crash scene, click here.