Shortly before midnight in Chester County, a Verizon worker was killed when he was struck by a cable caught by a passing truck, according to Verizon and state police.

The accident shut down northbound Route 202 in East Whiteland Township until about 6 this morning.

Thomas J. Hetrick was part of a crew moving a cable "from an old pole line crossing Route 202, below the Swedesford Road overpass," according to a Verizon statement.

"As a cable was being lowered, a dump truck caught the slack in the cable, and as the tension tightened, the cable hit Hetrick, knocking him over an embankment, where he fell to his death."

According to state police, Hetrick suffered major head trauma after being thrown or dragged on northbound 202. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, Verizon said: "This was a tragic and unfortunate accident. Our sympathy goes out to his family, friends and coworkers. Tom worked for Verizon for 26 years."

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow by the Chester County Coroners Office.

The utility work was part of a $23.7 million PennDOT project to rebuild three bridges that cross Route 202 in Chester County. The Swedesford Road overpass is one. The others are for Morehall Road (Route 29) and Cedar Hollow Road.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.