(Freeburg, Illinois – January 24, 2014)
A 33-year-old lumber company delivery truck driver lost his life just after noon Friday when his box truck was struck and overturned at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Lanter (also known as Canter) Lane and Canadian National Railroad tracks in the St. Clair County, IL community of Freeburg.
Although the Federal Railroad Administration seems to have no record of the crossing or past accidents occurring there, the former Illinois Central Gulf intersection with the dually-named road, where Donald Stahl of nearby Smithton, IL had just made a delivery to one of the residences on the road, has no active protective or warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both Canadian National 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 can gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
The rail corridor through that part of Freeburg accommodates a daily average of a half dozen freight trains at top allowable speeds of 60 mph. The southbound train that killed the eastbound driver consisted of a single locomotive pulling 32 cars. The collision occurred at 12:40 P.M.
St. Clair County Chief Deputy Coroner Dan Haskenhoff said that “He (the victim) was crossing the tracks and did not see or hear the train.”