ODOT worker killed on the job honored with highway dedication

RAMONA, Okla. - A roadway was dedicated Tuesday to the memory of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker killed in a construction zone on Highway 75 last year.

Ira Lee Henderson was hit by a car on the job last November near Ramona, just south of Bartlesville.

Henderson died at age 42 at the scene from his injuries.

At 10 a.m.,  ODOT officials unveiled a new sign, renaming part of the highway between Ramona and Bartlesville in memory of Henderson.

"Today, we are here to honor Ira and to try to give back a little, even though we can never give wahat he gave," Washington County Oklahoma Department of Transportation Supervisor Brian Sutton told the nearly 30 gathered for the unveiling.

He spoke of how in the five months Henderson worked for him, he learned how much family and his wife, Lisa, meant to him.

Recounting Nov. 30, 2011, the day Henderson died, Sutton said he felt like his "guts were torn out," saying he couldn't imagine how Lisa felt.

"When people drive impaired, one way or another, whether it be talking on the cell phone, texting on phones, alcohol, drugs — and add speed to it — it just equals tragedy."

Continuing, he said the day Henderson died brought a change to many lives.

"Today, we honor Ira for the husband, the son, the brother, the uncle, the friend and the employee he was.

"I will never forget Ira and everyone that knew him won't forget him either."

Lisa, who since Ira's death has been an advocate for ODOT workers in promoting work zone safety, described her husband as "an amazing man that enjoyed and loved life."

She said for her the sign bearing the name of her husband is just a memorial to him but should be a reminder to every driver.

"I hope the Ira Lee Henderson Memorial sign reminds drivers to slow down in work zones and to not get behind the wheel while intoxicated in any way."

ODOT Division Engineer Randle White said much same.

"We hope certainly that when people drive by these signs that they all remember not to be distracted, to pay attention to their driving and arrive safely."

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