(St. Francis, Arkansas – September 17, 2020)
A local man was airlifted to an undisclosed area hospital Thursday evening after his rig loaded with grain was struck by a Union Pacific freight train just outside of St. Francis, AR at about 6:00 PM, CDT. Dewayne McCrillis suffered head and rib injuries as a result of the collision. His 18-wheeler was struck by one of the 20 daily Union Pacific trains that cross the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Clay County Road 342 at a maximum allowable speed of 70 mph. Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller said the victim was suffering from “possible serious injuries”.
The collision was the third to occur at the railroad crossing which lacks both crossing gates and flashing lights, safety devices which, if working properly, would probably have prevented all three incidents. It is virtually certain that lights and gates could have prevented this collision. Union Pacific 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 collisions by as much as 96%.