(Cawood, Kentucky – July 2, 2013)
The driver of a 2011 Nissan Frontier pickup truck who was returning his nine-year-old son home to his mother and stepfather died at the Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, TN about 9:00 P.M. Tuesday night as a result of the injuries he suffered in the crash Sunday. The truck collided with a CSX freight train at the dangerous, unguarded and unmarked crossing of Alder Lane and CSX railroad tracks near Kentucky Highway 987 between Smith, KY and Cawood, KY,
Rodney Bolin, 44, of Evarts, KY, and his son, Braxton, 9, were belted in their seats as the train struck, dragged and demolished their vehicle, finally flinging it into a trackside ditch filled with water. Since the train struck the Frontier’s driver’s side, the father received the greatest blow of blunt force by the locomotive. Both were extricated via the passenger’s side by the Harlan County Rescue Squad.
The Alder Lane/CSX crossing is allegedly a private crossing. It also has no visible markings indicating that it is a railroad crossing, or any active signalization and protection (lights and gates) for the driving public from oncoming trains. As mentioned previously, if lights and gates were installed it is virtually certain that this accident and now death could have been prevented. 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%.
Braxton Bolin, whose mother and step-father live within sight of the accident scene, is still in critical condition at the level one trauma center at the Johnson City, TN Medical Center.