State worker hit, killed on Route 8

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State police and DOT workers on the scene of an accident on Route 8 near exit 29 in after a DOT worker was killed after being hit by a tractor trailer on Thursday afternoon. –RA ARCHIVE

WATERBURY — A 41-year-old state Department of Transportation worker was struck and killed on Route 8 northbound in Waterbury near the Naugatuck line around 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

Maintenance supervisor Daniel Dinardi of Rocky Hill was struck by a tractor trailer after exiting his DOT vehicle on the side of Route 8 between exits 29 and 30, at the Naugatuck line, according to state authorities. He had activated the truck’s flashing warning lights.

There was no construction project in the vicinity, according to Judd Everhart, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation. Everhart speculated that Dinardi may have attempted to remove an obstruction from the roadway.

Waterbury, Naugatuck, and state police responded. Waterbury firefighters attempted CPR before Dinardi was taken by ambulance to Waterbury Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Dinardi spent 21 years working for the state agency. His job included plowing, trimming trees and generally keeping the roadways safe, Everhart said.

“As word spread around the building, people were crying and asking each other how it could have happened,” Everhart said. “Dan was quite well known around the headquarters building, and very well liked. It really is like a big family here.”

A short section of the highway was shut down while state police investigated. It reopened shortly after 7 p.m.

The driver of the truck, Gina Davies, 48, of Wisconsin, was not injured or charged. According to the state police report, she veered over the white line and into the shoulder of the road before striking Dinardi.

State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said it will likely be several weeks before the state police reach any conclusions as to responsibility.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker sent a message to employees expressing sympathy and asking that Dinardi be kept in their thoughts and prayers, Everhart said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman issued a joint statement of sympathy, saying the loss is a reminder of the risks that some state workers face daily on the behalf of the public.

“Connecticut has workers who, in the course of performing their jobs, are at risk every day. This tragedy reminds us to reflect on their efforts, and to recognize their dedication and commitment. We must do everything we can to keep our workers safe. We are grateful for Mr. Dinardi’s 21 years of service to the Department of Transportation, and all that he has done to make this state a better place,” the statement said.