(New Iberia, Louisiana – January 16, 2014)
As if the unusual situation of having the railroad tracks run between the opposite directional lanes of West Washington Street in New Iberia, LA, was not enough, the failure to install crossing gates at the crossing of Corrine Street must certainly be considered a prime factor in Thursday’s accident that injured a driver when his vehicle was hit by one of the 14 trains, including those of three railroads, that pass that crossing daily.
Local resident Bernard Davis, 44, was southbound about 3:45 Thursday afternoon when he encountered the BNSF freight train and became the sixth injury to be suffered and seventh accident to occur at the highly unusual intersection, which does have flashing lights, but lacks crossing gates, a necessity in providing the most effective form of grade crossing protection. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both BNSF 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 view of southbound drivers of the double-tracked rail line which became the property of BNSF as a concession of the Southern Pacific/Union Pacific merger in 1996, is blocked on both sides by a number of large structures near the tracks.
Besides BNSF and UPRR trains, Amtrak also operates a daily passenger train each way at top allowable speeds of 25 mph.
The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries according to Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputies who investigated the accident.