An Omaha public works employee with a reputation for being a leader on safety has died, days after he was struck by a car while preparing to repair a pothole.
Salvatore Fidone III, 48, of Council Bluffs, was working Monday morning at 144th and U Streets when he was hit and taken to the Nebraska Medical Center.
Fidone was “someone who was hardworking and also cared a great deal about his fellow workers,” said Austin Rowser, the city’s street maintenance engineer, speaking at a press conference at Mayor Jean Stothert’s office Friday afternoon. He “was always really reminding his other crew members to be safe on a job site and to take all of the safety precautions.”
Fidone was standing on the driver’s side of a city truck as his crew prepared to fill potholes when a 2012 Toyota Camry drifted from a northbound lane on 144th Street and struck him, police have said.
The car was driven by Alan R. Solarana, 53, of Omaha.
Stothert said Friday that an initial investigation showed that the members of the city crew, led by Fidone, were wearing their reflective vests, had displayed the proper warnings to motorists and had parked their trucks properly.
Solarana has not been charged. Attempts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful.
Omaha police are still investigating, Stothert said.
Investigators will forward the results to the county attorney, who will decide if there will be charges.
The city safety division also is investigating to ensure that proper safety procedures were followed, she said.
Fidone’s relatives said in a statement that they wanted to extend their “heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude to everyone who has showered Sal and our family with such love and support.”
His family said Fidone had “made the choice to extend the lives of others by donating his organs to those in critical need. We are honored that a small piece of him will allow other families more time together.”
Fidone had already donated a kidney to one of his brothers, Stothert said.
He had been with the city since October 2015, but he had many longtime friends who worked for street maintenance, Rowser said.
“He was generally regarded as someone with just a real positive attitude, a real positive demeanor, a likable person,” Rowser said
Stothert said she had met with Fidone’s family.
“This is a difficult time for Mr. Fidone’s co-workers in the street maintenance division who come to work each day to provide an important service to everyone who uses our city streets.
“I ask you to keep the Fidone family and our city employees in your prayers.”
Tony Burkhalter, a representative of Omaha City Employees Union Local 251, issued a statement Friday on behalf of Fidone’s co-workers.
“This is a heartbreaking day for all of us that have worked alongside Mr. Fidone,” Burkhalter said. “Our goal at this time is to be there for Sal’s family, specifically his two sons.”
He also urged the public to watch out for city workers.
“We want the public to please be mindful of construction workers when you see us working in the streets. We have families, and just like everyone else, we want to go home at the end of the day,” Burkhalter said. “Please pray for the Fidone family, friends, co-workers and all that were touched by his presence.”
A GoFundMe page was set up by the union to raise money for Fidone’s relatives. And Burkhalter said the union was planning a fundraiser March 4 at the Firefighters Union Hall at 60th and Grover Streets.