(September 29, 2022—Lincoln, California)
On September 29, a tragic train collision killed a mother, Ashlee Rhodes, and seriously injured her son, Easton. The crash occurred at the Union Pacific railroad crossing near the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Ferrari Ranch Road in Lincoln, California on Monday afternoon.
The crash happened while the two were coming back from a “mommy-and-me” bowling date. Rhodes was traveling along the roadway when a train collided with her car and pushed it along the tracks before falling near Auburn Ravine. Rhodes was pronounced dead at the scene while her son was taken to the UC Davis Trauma Center. Easton is in critical condition with two broken femurs, contusions in his lungs, and bruising all over his body.
Rhodes’s husband, Travis Nunes told ABC 10, “My wife was the best mother in the world, and she protected her babies through anything and was overly careful with them.” He has been mourning the loss of his wife but is focused on prioritizing his children. Easton’s progress was reported by Nune saying, “He didn’t say much. His eyes started tearing him. His lip quivered. His lower lip quivered, and he just rolled over to his side and I could clearly see he was depressed. He lost his mommy and his best friend.” Nunes has started a GoFundMe to help with the funeral, medical, and recovery expenses.
The railroad crossing where this collision occurred is owned and maintained by Union Pacific Railroad. The crossing has had two previous accidents, one resulting in an injury. The crossing is occupied by about 6 trains per day that travel from 35 to 70 miles per hour. While there are lights and gates, it is unclear if they were working properly at the time of this incident. Union Pacific officials claimed without any support that the lights and gates were working as intended, but community members have raised concerns about the crossing.