MoDOT Honors Major I-57 March Incident Responders With Ceremony in Sikeston
On March 17th, traffic accidents on I-57 near Charleston, Missouri left all lanes of the interstate closed for twenty hours. The accident was due to inclement weather and left 15 injured and five deceased. But thanks to respondents of the crash and the hard work of MoDOT, any more casualties were prevented and the roads were able to be reopened.
The following week, on March 24th, MoDOT decided to thank the respondents for their assistance by holding a ceremony for them in their honor. Law enforcement, responders, and multiple agencies were brought in and thanked for their service. The ceremony was held in a garage in Sikeston behind MoDOT’s district office and included about 200 people.
MoDOT District Engineer Mark Croarkin attended the ceremony and was involved in thanking those who took part in assisting to clear and secure the I-57 to prevent others from being hurt. He says that he talked to Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe and Kehoe wanted to make those who helped feel appreciated.
“The Lieutenant Governor and the Director of MoDOT appreciated all the cooperation. ‘We should bring everybody in to thank them’. So this was an effort to bring all of the responders, just get them all together and see the magnitude of all the people who responded and praise them”
Croarkin emphasized how important it was to him to see the relationships between so many agencies strengthen. He said it moved him to see a lot of people from Southeast Missouri come together to do the best they could to help with a bad situation.
“They literally were all hand in hand like one agency out there, even though there were really almost like 30 agencies. So it is really impressive for an event of that magnitude, with that many vehicles, that many injuries, that many fatalities, [for everyone] to all work together in harmony”
The ceremony on March 24th—held just a week after the incident, lasted from 3:00 until 3:45, and the teams and agencies were debriefed on their performance and how well they did after the ceremony. While no other public ceremonies are planned, Croarkin said that the importance of this event showed the importance of regional agencies working together seamlessly during a traumatic event.