MEMPHIS – A witness, who testified in a jury trial involving a 2003 train accident that left one man permanently disabled, admitted to perjuring himself. He admits that attorneys for Illinois Central Railroad Company paid for his hotel room during the trial and instructed him to lie to the judge about it. The witness also changed his testimony after the judge explained to him the consequences of perjury. Let us hope that this is not standard procedure for all railroad companies.
Authorities in Arkansas are doing a half-hearted investigation of a railroad crossing fatality that likely happened because the crossing did not have lights or gates. Spokesman for the transportation department, Glen Bolick said “In an ideal world 100 percent of (those intersections) would have active warning.” He goes on to state that this crossing and 70 percent of other dangerous railroad crossings will not be equipped with lights or gates. Why?
A 17 year old girl from Kent, Washington was struck and killed by a train this week. The train crossing had no lights or gates or “crossing control” of any kind. Investigators have simply determined that she was not paying attention to the oncoming train. She may have been distracted by her cell phone. Unfortunately, the one distraction that could have saved her life – lights and gates at the railroad crossing – was not there. This is the latest example of a pedestrian train crossing accident that could have been prevented with simple lights and gates.
Reports indicate that a Madison man was killed when his vehicle became stuck at a railroad crossing. His passenger is said to have survived with “serious injuries.” The railroad crossing is reported to have been “unsecured,” which indicates that it had neither lights nor gates to warn motorists. The remaining details about the crossing and the other circumstances surrounding the fatality have yet to surface. Testimony of the witness who survived this train crossing accident will be crucial to determining the facts.
Illinois is on the verge of installing lights and gates at a railroad crossing where a man was killed earlier this year. When the accident occurred there was nothing more than a crossbuck at the crossing; a stop-sign has since been added to prevent train accidents, but nothing has proved to more effective than lights and gates. It is tragic that a man had to lose his life to precipitate the installation of basic safety mechanisms that should have been installed as soon as the technology became available. The rest of Illinois and the country should follow suit.
Two separate train wrecks that happened at the same Mississippi railroad crossing on the same day resulted in the death of one man and the critical injury of a woman. The first crossing accident occurred in the morning, injuring the woman. The second railroad crossing accident happened in the afternoon, leaving a man dead and his SUV demolished. Unsafe railroad crossings are always unsafe, and unfortunately an accident can happen at one any time. These two train crashes prove that fact.
An architect employed with a Kansas City firm contracted to work for Amtrak was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Providence last week. The man who died is said to have been working alongside three other men, one of whom was seriously injured. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the railroad accident. This report estimates that a full Federal investigation will take up to one year to complete. So far reports indicate that the curvature of the railroad track may have contributed to this train accident.
A military MP stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, who served two tours in Iraq, was struck and killed by a train in Chapman, Kansas last weekend. As has been the case in several recent train accidents, this was a pedestrian-train accident. Please click the link for additional information about the young man whose life was cut short.
A busy highway in Missouri has seen a number of accidents at one of its railroad crossings over the years. Two women were recently injured in a 3 vehicle accident near Columbia. This and various other railroad crossing accidents have happened here due to the 70 mph speed limit and the fact that certain vehicles like school buses and fuel trucks, by law, have to stop at the crossing. Although accidents of this nature have been happening at this crossing for over a decade, MDoT is only now considering adding a flashing light to warn motorists of halted traffic.