Man in Critical Condition After Signs Fall from I-480

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VALLEY VIEW, Ohio -- The Ohio Department of Transportation continues to investigate after three highway signs fell on I-480 Tuesday afternoon.

At least two vehicles were struck, including a pickup truck driven by 64-year-old Gregory Badger. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Middleburg Heights man was listed in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

"This is a very unfortunate incident," said Amanda Lee from ODOT. "We do hope that he is okay and that everything with him turns out fine. This is unfortunate and we did not expect this to happen and we want him and his family, everything to be okay."

According to Lee, the large green informational signs fell during strong wind gusts associated with severe weather Tuesday afternoon.

She said there is not a widespread safety issue.

"These signs have probably been through similar conditions before and withstood it. We're not exactly sure what happened and we're trying to look into why these wind gusts did knock these signs down," said Lee.

A neighbor of the victim said Badger is a good man.

"I'll keep him in my prayers," said the neighbor.

According to his wife, Badger has serious head injuries and is in-and-out of consciousness. She has hired an attorney who did not return FOX 8's call for a comment.

"I think that's very disturbing. Obviously our state, we pay tax dollars and it should be going to ensure our roads, our bridges, our signs that are around us are safe, that I can get on the road with my family and know that I'm going to make it to my destination," said Courtney Bristow, who was driving through the area on Wednesday.

ODOT's spokesperson said the signs on bridges, like the ones that fell, are inspected annually. Signs on other highways are inspected once every five years. They are not planning any additional inspections.

"That bridge, that particular bridge, that wind comes across there like crazy," said a truck driver who didn't want to be identified. "Mother Nature can undo anything that we do!"

ODOT plans to install replacement signs within a few days.

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