(Piggott, Arkansas – August 16, 2015)
A 27-year-old local resident driving east on Lincoln Street in Piggott, AR had his life cut short Sunday afternoon at about 3:15 P.M., CDT when, as he attempted to cross Union Pacific Railroad tracks at the dangerous and unguarded, acute-angled intersection, and had his red, 1997 Ford sedan struck on the driver’s side by a southbound UPRR train.
Aaron L. Beavers was killed and his vehicle heavily damaged when the train, one of 10 daily UPRR freight trains, from behind a large earthen embankment and the buildings which stand upon it, approaching the crossing at an acute, 60 degree angle. Trains on this stretch of track can barrel through the crossing at speeds as high as 70 mph
The crossing also does not have 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%.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Sunday’s tragedy was the sixth collision and third fatality suffered at the UPRR/Lincoln Street crossing. In July, 2000, two people died there when the eastbound auto they were in was demolished by a northbound 71-car UP freight powered by four locomotives that struck it at 55 mph.