CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found safety steps not taken before a deadly crash in a construction zone, and video shows workers admitting they knew it was dangerous.

The story behind what happened to Rafael Solis, a worker on that project, has come to light in a lawsuit. Testimony in court depositions raises hard questions about safety measures missing to protect the workers.

Back in 2019, a drunk driver hit and killed Solis and kept going. The driver, ultimately, went to prison.

Now, a civil lawsuit is revealing more.

In videotaped depositions, one worker said, “You’re within what we call the hornet’s nest.”
And, he added, “This company’s motto is lean and mean.”

WJW photo

An attorney can be heard saying to a other worker, “No drums, no law enforcement officers, and no crash trucks are between oncoming traffic and you.” And, the worker responds with,

And, to another, the lawyer asks, “You would have closed the ramp. Correct?” And, that worker answers, “Yes.”

Attorney Craig Bashein said, “What’s standing out is the contractors cut corners.”

He filed suit in Cuyahoga County on behalf of the family of Rafael Solis. The suit names, among others, two contractors, Karvo Companies and Trafftech.

Attorney Bashein tells us the lawsuit is close to getting settled.

“As taxpayers, we’re paying them under contract to do the right thing to follow the safety rules,” he said.

The lawsuit had been set for trial. A court docket shows the trial, now, is canceled. But, a settlement has not yet been approved by a judge.

A settlement would benefit the family of the worker in this case. But, Bashein hopes it also sends a message wherever there’s road construction.

“With the state of Ohio paying attention, hopefully these contractors can start following the law,” Bashein said.

An attorney for Karvo Companies did not return a call.

An attorney for Trafftech said, “On behalf of Trafftech Inc., the matter has been resolved.”

The depositions also reveal a worker testifying, “We don’t shut the lane down, no. They frown upon us shutting anything down unless we absolutely have to.”

We’ll update this story once any settlement is finalized.