(Enid, Oklahoma – May 6, 2014)
A 26-year-old local resident was killed Tuesday afternoon at about 2:24 P.M. when his southbound 2007 Jeep Liberty SUV was struck and heavily damaged by a westbound 76-car BNSF freight train at the dangerous, unguarded and tree-line obscured crossing of North 42nd Street and BNSF Railway tracks just east of Enid, OK.
Edwin Bulstrode III had his vehicle struck on the driver’s side and cast over 100 feet down the tracks by the train, which was reportedly traveling at 35 mph according to Enid Police reports. The train crew, whose vantage point is as high as a two-story building, claimed they could see the victim’s vehicle approaching, but with his ground-level position and the view of oncoming westbound trees hampered by heavy trees now in full foliage, his capability to see the train was considerably blocked.
Regardless, the North 42nd Street/BNSF crossing has no active protection to give warning to motorists of approaching trains. 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 and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
According to Federal Railroad Administration records, Tuesday’s tragedy was the first fatality out of the five collisions which have occurred at this particular crossing. Yet, there is a daily passage of nine BNSF freight trains at a top allowable speed of 60 mph.
The victim was still alive at the scene, but was later pronounced dead after being taken to Enid’s St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center by Life EMS ambulance.