VDOT employee reprimanded for calling drivers “stupid”

Posted at 9:36 PM, Dec 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-12 06:25:06-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - When traffic on Interstate 95 in Richmond was at a standstill last week, with all but one lane closed, calls to 911 dispatch started pouring in after a metal plate shifted over the Robin Hood Road Bridge and damaged several cars.

But, when a State Police dispatcher called the Richmond Traffic Operations Center to notify them about the problem, the traffic operator responded in a manner no one would have expected.

"There is a sign there that says 'bump', but people are still sailing through there at 70+ m.p.h., but there is really not a lot you can do for stupid," the traffic operation center said. 

“Right, but from what I understand it’s not the way it should be – it’s actually sticking up," the dispatcher said. 

“Oh wow. That`s horrible. That`s a horrible thing to say,” said driver, Jesse Caleb.

“It doesn`t  sound like he`s concerned about the safety of us  drivers out here, especially on I-95,” said another driver, Melanie Alexander.

“Somebody should do something about that, perhaps, some disciplinary action,” suggested Caleb.

“And we`re handling it as a personnel action,” said VDOT Traffic Operations Manager, Ron Alexander.

Alexander said his employees are held to a much higher standard, and he’s never heard of any of his employees responding this way before. Without getting into specifics, Alexander said the employee was reprimanded.

 “It was an unprofessional comment,” he said.

Alexander says the employees was one of 12 traffic operators working at the Richmond Traffic Operations Center.