Former MDOT worker, nearly killed on the job, warns drivers during pothole season

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GRANDVILLE, Mich -- Bob Kamps was hit and nearly killed by a driver in February of 2011 while he was patching potholes on Gull Road in Kalamazoo. He and a fellow Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) crew member were hit by a 74-year-old woman driving an SUV.

Now the Kamps say they want to use their experience to warn other drivers to think twice when driving near road workers.

Bob's colleague suffered minor injuries. Police said at the time said the driver was not under the influence of alcohol and wasn't speeding.

The impact sent Bob into the hood of the vehicle that struck him, then back into the MDOT tar truck. He suffered a severe closed head injury, similar to the effects of shaken baby syndrome.

Bob spent the following seven months after the accident in rehabilitation in the hospital.

He now relies mostly on a wheelchair to get around, while his motor skills and speech have also been slowed.

"This was just an unfortunate, preventable accident," said Bob's wife, Cyndi. "They had their reflective gear on, and they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, and still this happened."

"We just have to find different ways to do things," Cyndi said.

Bob still enjoys woodworking and golfing, which he is able to continue to do thanks to special accommodations.

The couple says they have chosen to use their experience as an opportunity of empowerment, not defeat. Cyndi recently wrote a book titled "Our New Normal," documenting the couple's journey through Bob's rehabilitation. And Bob appeared in a 2013 Mary Free Bed commercial relating his rehabilitation experience.

Bob and Cyndi say they don't hold a grudge against the driver.

"We all hate the potholes, they need to be fixed," Cyndi said. "So we just need to be really mindful of the workers."

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1 Comment

  • Cecil

    I have watched the same workers not look and step into traffic. As much as it is the drivers responsibility to look the road workers also need to watch. Don’t assume that everyone sees you