Worker hurt in 1999 crash, inspiring stricter Michigan construction zone laws, dies

Family vows to continue Andy Lefko's legacy


DETROIT – The man who inspired change to protect construction workers in Michigan has died, but his family is vowing to continue his legacy.

Andy Lefko was seriously injured while working in a construction zone in 1999, and the crash led to tougher laws to protect workers. The images of her son will forever be dear to Diane Wasson.

"I'm going to miss him dearly," she said. "It was a whole life change for our entire family."

Lefko was struck by a drunken driver 19 years ago when he was just weeks into a new construction job. He was working in a construction zone on I-275.

"He got hit from behind, but his coworkers saw it," Wasson said. "It was so traumatic they quit the next day."

The driver only served 45 days behind bars, but Lefko's injuries left him unable to walk, talk or function without 24-hour care.

"He couldn't do anything," Wasson said.

His mother fought to protect others in construction zones, lobbying for tougher penalties against drivers who hit or kill workers. Known as Andy's Law, it passed in 2000.

"People here tell me, 'Lately, you know how many people's lives you've probably saved because of this?'" Wasson said. "I never looked at it like that. I looked at it as an honor to Andy."

Lefko fought long and hard after the 1999 accident, but he died Tuesday morning due to complications from his injuries. His mother is mourning his death, but she said she hopes drivers realize the true consequences of reckless driving.

"Be cautious, not only in construction zones, anywhere you drive," Wasson said. "Always be on the lookout for the unexpected."

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