(Seville, Florida – April 30, 2019)
Last Tuesday morning about 8:55 AM, EDT a Miami-bound Amtrak train became the fourth to collide with a vehicle at the dangerous and unguarded private crossing of Register Lane and CSX Railroad track in the Volusia County, FL, community of Seville.
The driver of the vehicle, Isaias Jimenez, 57, was on his way to work when, according to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes, he “looked, and didn’t see any train coming, so he pulled forward” across the road/rail intersection, and “that’s when he saw the southbound Amtrak coming. He stepped on the gas to try and get out of the way, but the train still struck the rear of his vehicle.”
The Register Lane/CSX crossing is listed as private, and thus, federal law does not require locomotive engineers blow the train horn as they approach the private crossing. However, this does not prevent state laws or railroad companies from enacting rules which require the train horn to be blown at all crossings, public and private.
Jimenez clearly had no warning the train was coming, especially because of the lack of a federal horn rule on private crossings as well as the fact that the crossing was not equipped with any active warning devices. According to FRA records, there are a daily average of nine Amtrak passenger and CSX freight trains that cross there at a maximum allowable speed of 79 mph.
As was mentioned before, Tuesday’s near-tragedy was the fourth to occur at the crossing. All four collisions involve Amtrak trains. Had the crossing been equipped with flashing lights and crossing gates, it probably would have been accident-free.
To further cloud the issue was the widely differing figures of the number of passengers who were allegedly aboard the train. While the FHP reported that there were 120 people on board, Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said the train held 74 passengers.