(Chino, California – May 18, 2021)
A California police officer with the Chino Police Department was injured Tuesday afternoon after his police cruiser was struck by a Union Pacific freight train. The railroad crossing collision occurred at about 3:15 pm at the dangerous and unguarded Union Pacific crossing and Roswell Avenue just outside of Chino, CA. The collision resulted in undisclosed injuries to the police officer, who was transported to a local hospital.
The crossing has been the site of four prior railroad-vehicle collisions, with the most recent prior to Tuesday occurring in 2016. Despite the four prior collisions, this crossing does not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The installation of lights and gates would have almost certainly prevented this collision and the four before it. 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%.
Moreover, the signage at this crossing is also severely faded, leading a reasonable motorist to believe that the crossing is not actively used by trains. The skewed angle of the crossing also complicates the driving task and makes it difficult for a motorist to timely detect the presence of an oncoming train.
The California Highway Patrol is continuing its investigation of this collision.