(Biloxi, Mississippi – July 6, 2017)
A Biloxi motorist, headed home from the shopping mall, was injured last Thursday evening after his northbound car was struck and demolished by a CSX freight train. The collision took place at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of Seal Avenue and CSX Railroad tracks late Thursday afternoon in Biloxi, MS.
Railroad crossing accidents have been a major concern in Biloxi since March 7, when 5 people died and over three dozen were injured when a tour bus full of tourists became stuck on another CSX crossing and was struck by a CSX freight train.
In this collision, Brendan Ferrer, was the motorist who was injured. He told Reporter Victor Williams of WLOX-TV, ABC News that he was “Just happy to be alive. I felt blessed. There was a good chance I was about to die.”
Although Seal Avenue is currently closed to through traffic due to construction in the area, local traffic is permitted, and Ferrer must use it to reach his home.
“The Seal Avenue crossing has a railroad crossing sign, but no bells, lights or crossing arms that can pose as a warning to drivers who may cross the tracks,” noted WLOX’s Williams.
The Federal Railroad Administration notes that a daily average of 10 CSX trains cross there, traveling at a maximum allowable speed of 45 mph, and that two previous accidents at the CSX/Seal Avenue crossing had resulted in the suffering of a single injury.
The victim said he pulled up and stopped at the stop sign and then proceeded across. “Right before it (the train) hit the car, I heard the horn blow, and next thing I know, I was sitting on the side of the railroad watching the back of the train driving by.”
Ferrer further told WLOX he proceded to “Look to my right, look to my left. Didn’t see anything, didn’t hear anything.” He added that “There’s a little bit of shrubbery had grown out over the (trackside) ditch, partially blocking the view of the tracks.” News media and satellite views of the crossing proved the foliage was enough to hide the motorist’s view of the oncoming train.
The victim was treated at the scene by paramedics for his injuries.
WLOX further reported that “City leaders in the past (say) they’ve expressed concerns about the need for more warning signals at the crossing, but they say that all falls in the hands of CSX and MDOT.”