(Knox County, Indiana – May 6, 2014)
A 67-year-old farmer from Vincennes, IN was killed Tuesday evening at about 7:00 P.M. when his tractor was struck and destroyed by a CSX freight train at a dangerous, unguarded crossing near Ivers Road and Old U.S. Highway 41 in Knox County, IN.
Police do not believe Basil (Ed) Patrick ever saw or heard the train as he crossed CSX tracks at a rural, private crossing that had no active warning devices to warn drivers of oncoming trains. Only properly operating flashing lights, bells and crossing gates can possibly give an indication of the approach of any of the more than two dozen CSX trains that cross there daily at a top timetable speed of 50 mph. 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%.
Patrick and the train were both southbound on parallel routes, and the farmer failed to notice the train coming from behind him as he turned right and crossed over the CSX tracks.
Federal Railroad Administration regulations do not require that trains sound their horns as they approach and pass over private crossings, and there was no indication of whether any horn was blown by the train’s locomotive engineer or not.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by Knox County Coroner’s Office personnel as the Knox County Sheriff’s Office conducted its investigation into the tragedy.