(Paragould, Arkansas – October 23, 2014)
An as-yet unidentified truck driver received undisclosed injuries and was admitted to a local hospital when his truck was struck by a Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Greene County Road 818, also known as Cotton Belt Road, in Paragould, AR early last Thursday afternoon.
The truck, carrying a recycling bin originating in Piggott, AR, was struck in the rear section as it approached its destination, the NEA Regional Solid Waste Landfill.
The UPRR/CR818 intersection, where Federal Railroad Administration records say there have been three earlier accidents resulting in a single injury, are not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, which could warn motorists of the 10 daily trains that cross there at speeds as high as 70 mph.
It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.