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Pennsylvania road crew paints yellow line over dead raccoon

Sean Mcafee / AP

According to PennDOT traffic engineer John Ambrosini, paint crews usually have a foreman on the job to clear any dead animals off the road before the paint-spraying truck equipment passes by. This crew didn't have a foreman that day.

While repainting traffic lines, road crews in Pennsylvania inadvertently laid a fresh coat of yellow paint over an unforeseen obstruction.

A dead raccoon, seen by motorists earlier this week, was caught beneath the paint gun of the crew’s vehicle.

A motorcyclist, Sean McAfee, noticed the coated road kill on his way home from work and took a photo of the flattened critter covered with yellow paint.

“When I saw it, I almost wrecked my motorcycle because I was laughing so hard,” McAfee told The Tribune-Democrat.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said the accident was unavoidable.

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“They did try to stop the paint gun,” traffic engineer John Ambrosini told The Tribune-Democrat. “But with the amount of congestion Thursday, the squirrelly geometry of the road and the size of the equipment, they couldn’t turn around to go back and fix the mistake.”

Ambrosini said paint crews know to avoid such animals and usually a foreman vehicle travels in front or behind the vehicle to remove any obstructions. But the crew didn't have a foreman that morning, and the equipment was too big to turn around in traffic on the curvy, narrow road, so the line couldn't be painted without the carcass in the way.

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A two-foot break in the lines shows where the crew apparently tried to avoid the deceased animal.

“We were out the next morning to clean it up,” Ambrosini said.

An unpainted spot is all that remains where the vermin was run over, and Ambrosini said he is unsure when a crew will redo the paint job.

He said that "painting the yellow lines over the existing lines is not easily done,” adding that the problem occurs “pretty frequently.” 

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