MassDOT Reinstates Hi-Way Safety Systems After Holiday Party Scandal

The Massachusetts company can obtain state contracts again after a holiday party lead to two deaths

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Hi-Way Safety Systems can bid on state and local projects again about four months after its qualification was revoked over the company's holiday party that lead to two deaths.

"The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has reinstated prequalification for Hi-Way Safety Systems, Inc., after the company agreed to a monitorship arrangement by an outside legal firm, removed Ken Horn as one of the firm’s owners, changed its Board membership, established new corporate bylaws and related documents, and adopted a code of ethics," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

The Massachusetts company came under fire in January after one of its workers died at a Rockland motel and another was charged in a fatal car crash in Pembroke, which resulted in the death of a 13-year-old girl.

Hi-Way Safety Systems, of Rockland, faced mounting scrutiny over a string of events that left two people dead and at least two others injured on the morning of Dec. 29.

Those events included a fatal 6:50 a.m. crash in Pembroke involving a Hi-Way Safety Systems truck driven by 31-year-old Gregory Goodsell. Goodsell allegedly acknowledged to police that he was intoxicated and admitted to having taken cocaine at the company Christmas party he was coming from, prosecutors said in court.

A driver accused of causing a crash that killed a 13-year-old girl and injuring two others in Pembroke, Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty to drunken driving charges Monday.

Separately, a 41-year-old Hi-Way Safety Systems employee who attended the company party died after he was found struggling to breathe around 7:50 a.m. at the Comfort Inn in Rockland.

MassDOT is now allowing Hi-Way Safety Systems to bid on state and municipal projects just over four months after it revoked the company's prequalification status.

Hi-Way Safety Systems, Inc. pursued an appeal of MassDOT's decision to revoke its prequalification status on Jan. 14, requested a stay of the appeal process and advised that it was making changes to its management culture and safety policies. The company requested the opportunity to present those changes to MassDOT. 

MassDOT has since had "extensive conversations" with Hi-Way Safety Systems, according to a spokeswoman, which she said resulted in changes to the company's corporate structure, instituting new safety-related processes and agreeing to pay for and establish a monitorship arrangement involving the firm of Goodwin Procter LLP. 

Friends, family and perfect strangers alike gathered in Plymouth on Sunday in memory of Claire Zisserson, a 13-year-old girl who was killed by an alleged drunk driver last weekend.

The monitorship arrangement requires Hi-Way Safety Systems to make regular reports on its work activities and allows Goodwin Procter to interview employees and examine corporate records, according to MassDOT.

At the end of the construction season, Goodwin Procter will prepare a report so MassDOT may gauge whether Hi-Way Safety Systems should retain its prequalification status.

Any company which loses its prequalification with MassDOT, cannot bid​ on MassDOT projects or on city and town projects that require MassDOT prequalification; companies must be prequalified in order to bid on a project. Any project with a value over $50,000 requires that the contractor be prequalified by MassDOT. 

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