(White Castle, Louisiana – October 11, 2115)
An as-yet unnamed 61-year-old north Louisiana truck driver was killed at about 4:20 P.M., CDT last Sunday afternoon as he attempted to drive the semi-trailer truck he was operating across Union Pacific Railroad tracks and was struck by a UP freight train . The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of UP and Laurel Ridge Road near White Castle, LA in Iberville Parish,.
The victim, whose name was withheld pending notification of his family, died as the train, which WBRZ-TV, Channel 2 ABC News reporter Chris Nakamoto said approached the passively-marked crossing “at a high rate of speed,” struck his truck.
According to Federal Railroad Administration records, a daily average of 18 UPRR trains roll through the Laurel Ridge Road crossing at a top timetable speed of 60 mph, and the crossing has been the site of one earlier accident which resulted in the suffering of a single non-fatal injury accident.
As previously mentioned, this crossing lacks any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this accident would not have happened. Both UPRR and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.