(Crawfordsville, Indiana – September 10, 2013)
The operator of a green 2006 International Model 760 dump truck was slightly injured, but could easily have been killed, when his vehicle was struck by a CSX freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of CSX railroad tracks and Montgomery County Road 200 East at about 8:07 A.M. Tuesday morning just south of Crawfordsville, IN.
The truck driver, Jacob L. Davis, 24, of Crawfordsville, was headed northeast and said he was blinded from seeing the westbound train by the early morning sun as he approached the CSX/CR 200 East intersection, which has no active protective devices such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates to give motorists advance warning of any of the four CSX trains that cross there daily. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both CSX 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%.
The truck, which was owned by Ratcliff Homes, Inc. of Crawfordsville, was hit on the passenger side, carried about 150 feet along the tracks, and then thrown off about 50 feet and into a ditch. The driver of the truck was wearing his seat belt, a factor which probably limited the degree of his injury.
Ironically, the 28-car train, which was destined for Chicago, IL, was said to be travelling between 30 and 35 mph, somewhat over the speed limit of 25 mph listed on informational sheets supplied to the Federal Railroad Administration by CSX, but published under the auspices of the FRA.
The Indiana State Police are handling the investigation with assistance from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.