Son's death raises road construction concerns for Memphis couple

Son's death raises road construction concerns for Memphis couple

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Perpetual construction along I-240 and the flyover has likely given you headaches. But one couple believes better lighting and signage might have saved their son's life.

Look no further than a Memphis Tigers basketball game to find Laurie Higginbotham's fondest memory of her 33-year-old son, Michael.

"Josh Pastner said he's got the best seat in the house now, and he does," said Higginbotham.

The tiger fan was killed the night of November 18 in a crash on Walnut Grove Road at I-240. He died instantly after colliding with a tractor-trailer attempting a U-turn.

"The trailer of the truck was crossing all four lanes of traffic on Walnut Grove," said Higginbotham.

According to an incident report, the truck driver was cited for making an improper turn and failing to exercise due care. But Michael's family fears other factors contributed to the crash.

That includes the fact that many overhead lights along I-240 have been off during ongoing construction, affecting visibility. And the truck driver may have missed his intended exit because of the confusion.

"We shouldn't have to worry about things like that happening on our streets," said Higginbotham.

Police say Michael's body did have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. But his parents contend postmortem tests are unreliable. They're convinced their son died by no fault of his own.

"I wouldn't want to see any other family go through this," said Higginbotham.

TDOT had no specific comment on this case because of possibly pending litigation. However, a spokesperson said 80 percent of overhead lights are now back on.

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