Ohio Turnpike honors local man who died in tragic accident

RICHFIELD, Ohio- It didn't matter if it was early in the morning or late at night, Michael Kennedy, 56, was probably somewhere on the Ohio Turnpike around Ravenna.

The father of two and grandfather of eight towed cars for a living.

His family says he would like to say that he wanted to be the best part of someone else's bad day.

But, for Mike's family, May 11, 2015 will always be a very bad day.

"About 8:45, I got a call from the State Highway Patrol telling me that my dad was killed, and I didn't believe it, and actually hung up and then he called back and it was the State Highway Patrol again and he said, 'your dad got killed,' and I just fell to the ground," Mike's daughter, Holly Colman, said.

Colman and her sister, Heather Thompson, miss their dad every day. So does the whole family.

Even though Mike was on the turnpike wearing bright safety clothing, and there were flashing lights on his truck, he was still hit because the driver of the semi didn't slow down and didn't move over.

As construction on area roadways begins its busy season, the turnpike has a simple message: Follow the law.

"Please please, anyone who can hear us: Slow down, allow extra space between the vehicle ahead of you. We've got to make sure that everyone makes it to their destination safely," said Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole.

To remind people about the human costs of carelessness, Mike Kennedy's name will be seen at Mile Post 182 eastbound in Summit County just past the Rt. 8 exit.

He's one of about a dozen people killed in work zones on the turnpike over the past 30 years.

All of them will be remembered with their own signs.

"He was a family man, and obviously he fooled us for many years because he had a lot of friends -- we didn't know that. He was so quiet; he didn’t talk to us about his work," Heather Thompson said.

The turnpike commission says since they started the 'Move Over and Slow Down' campaign, they've seen a 20% decrease in the number of work-zone crashes.