LA GRANDE - An Oregon Department of Transportation road worker was nearly hit by a car Tuesday at a construction site on Interstate 84 a few miles south of La Grande.

The driver was later cited by the Oregon State Police for reckless endangerment of a highway worker, a class A misdemeanor punishable with up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.

The ODOT worker was flagging near construction at milepost 271, where one lane was closed to traffic, said Mark Stratton of ODOT. The construction area was marked with multiple cones and signs, OSP reported, when a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle traveling westbound drove into the closed lane, narrowly missing the worker.

The driver, Justin Samuel Hayden, 24, of San Antonio, Texas, said he was attempting to remove a wasp from the car when he swerved into the closed lane.

OSP Lt. Reg Madsen of the La Grande office said ODOT work crews will be at the site throughout the summer and into the fall.

Fines are doubled when speeding in a work zone, Madsen said.

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