Railroad News

Alabama Motorist Killed at Non-Gated CSX Crossing

(Montgomery, Alabama – March 31, 2016)

A 62-year-old female resident of Shorter, AL became the second person to die at the gateless CSX railroad grade crossing of Wares Ferry Road. The driver was killed in a collision last Tuesday, evening, 6:32 P.M. when her 2006 Kia Optima was struck by a CSX freight train. This is the fifth accident to occur at that crossing.

Annie Tarver died when at the crossing, which lacked a critical safety device, automatic gates. The addition of automatic gates has been proven to reduce accidents by over two-thirds when they are installed at crossings with only flashing lights. According to Federal Railroad Administration records, a daily average of 9 CSX freight trains cross at a maximum allowable aped of 50 mph. FRA records also indicate that a total of four non-fatal injuries were incurred in the accidents which did not result in death.

The most recent crash had occurred almost two years ago, April 4, 2014, when a 52-year-old male motorist died as his car collided with a 99-car-long CSX freight train being pulled by two locomotives at 40 mph.

Witness Brenda Kelley told WTVM Channel 9 Reporter Lindsey Rogers that she watched as two other vehicles led the victim’s Kia Optima across the intersection, where it was struck by the train on its passenger side. “It was awful,” said Kelley, whose truck’s hood was sprayed with shattered glass from the victim’s car, which she “watched in horror as the force of the CSX train flipped the car over multiple times.”

“The train was right there, really close, and it was going very fast,” the witness continued. “It was very loud, a very scary sound and you could see it happening, but there was nothing you could do,” Kelley lamented to the TV reporter. She said that, in the tragedy’s aftermath, she ran to assist the victim as she called 911 for help.

Channel 9’s Rogers also reported that “The tracks at that location do not have crossing arms. Residents in the area say they’ve been pushing for them for years.”

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spokesman Sgt. Steve Jarret indicated Alabama State Troopers were working the accident, which occurred at the multi-jurisdictional line between the City of Montgomery and Montgomery County.