Construction worker killed, 1 injured after being hit by truck in Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- A construction worker was killed when he was hit by a truck and another was injured while clearing a mudslide on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz County Thursday afternoon.

The two men were working between Vine Hill and Sugarloaf roads when the incident occurred.

The major storm that has been hammering the Bay area all day may have been a factor in a fatal accident.

The accident happened as a dirt hauling truck was backing up from a cutout along northbound Highway 17 after dumping its load.

Two employees of Graniterock, working as contractors for Caltrans, were run over. The man who was injured got trapped underneath the truck.

CHP Ofc. Trista Drake said the crews were working in bad weather to clear a mudslide blocking the northbound lanes. "It had already been raining for about I'd say 30 minutes...and they were going to work through the rain and we were flagged down by a passerby. Luckily, CHP was right there on scene. A medic got up here quickly. We expedited fire and ambulance to get the gentleman who was trapped extricated quickly and get him over to valley med," Drake said.

The two workers were behind the truck as it was backing up and CHP said both men were wearing bright-colored safety gear to make them visible.

CHP will be investigating whether the truck had a back-up warning beeper or a rear-facing camera.

Graniterock is a well-known Watsonville-based construction company that has been charged with cleaning up an unstable hillside adjacent to Highway 17 northbound lanes since last month when a mudslide slammed into an ABC7 News van, crushing its side and injuring the photographer inside.

Graniterock told ABC7 News they are devastated by the loss of one of its employees and added that the company has not had an accident in many years.
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