(Belle Glade, Florida – August 7, 2020)
A pair of adult parents and their infant child were all hospitalized at two different Palm Beach County, FL medical care facilities after their small SUV was struck by a freight train. The collision is believed to have involved a Florida East Coast freight train at an unguarded Florida East Coast Railway private grade crossing in west Palm Beach County near Belle Glade. According to reports, the collision occurred at about 9:00 AM, EDT Friday morning. None of the victims were identified by authorities, but were believed to be a young couple and their infant child.
The impact caused the vehicle to flip, entrapping all three occupants until firefighters could extricate them from the wreckage. One adult was airlifted by helicopter to an unnamed trauma center, while the other adult and the infant were taken by ground ambulance to a different care center for treatment of their undisclosed, crash-related injuries.
The crossing, which could not be determined to be the site of previous collision, belongs to the Florida East Coast Railway. According to railroad submitted records, there are approximately a dozen freight trains that cross the tracks daily at a maximum speed of 35 mph. The existence of a U.S. Sugar yard parallel to the crossing creates a confusing situation for drivers as they approach the crossing. The crossing appears to have no warning systems or signage other than pavement markings, in violation of state law and industry standards. Certainly, the presence of properly-operating crossing gates and flashing lights would have prevented the collision.
It is also unknown at this time when or if the train’s horn was sounded to offer a sufficient warning to the driver of the SUV. State and local law enforcement authorities were attempting to sort out the crash details before releasing names of the victims to the news media.