(Eaton, Colorado February 22, 2017)
Eaton High School sophomore basketball player Dallas Duran, 16, was killed last Wednesday night at approximately 8:40 P.M. when his car was struck by a southbound Union Pacific freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing on East 5th Street and Union Pacific railroad tracks. Duran was supposed to be in the lineup Thursday, as his EHS Reds defeated arch-rival Platte Valley in the early stages of the Colorado post-season high school boys state basketball playoffs.
The dangerous and unguarded crossing where the high school student-athlete was killed had already been the site of seven accidents between trains and vehicles. The East 5th Street/UPRR intersection, which is crossed on an average day by 14 freight trains at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph, lies only a few feet from its crossing of U.S. Highway 85, also known as the CanAm Highway. Despite the short storage space at this crossing and its abundant accident history, the crossing lacks any form of active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with signals, such as lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both 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 accidents by as much as 96%.
Also a baseball player, Durans performance and winning spirit were recalled by former EHS Baseball Coach Bob Ervin as the youngest starting third baseman in EHS history to lead the Reds to a state championship as a freshman this past spring. As an athlete, he was a coachs dream talented, yet humble, said Ervin.