Railroad News

Four Killed in Arkansas at Unprotected Union Pacific Crossing

(Tilton, Arkansas – June 16, 2018)

Four people were killed after their 2009 Hyundai Sonata collided with a southbound Union Pacific freight train at an unprotected private crossing leading to a residence in the community of Tilton.

Killed were the driver, John Miller, 44, and three passengers, Joetta Honey, 48, Nicholas Newton, 30, and Kayanna Newton, 21.  The incident occurred Saturday afternoon at 5:40 P.M., CDT.

There are approximately 20 daily freight trains operating on Union Pacific tracks that pass through Tilton at speeds of 70 mph.  The collision occurred in a county crisscrossed by 2 heavily-traveled Union Pacific rail corridors.

Cross County, AR, with 24 private crossings, is one of the most dangerous counties for private railroad crossings.  Private crossings can be even more hazardous because of Federal regulations does not require railroad personnel to sound the locomotive horn as trains approach private crossings.

It is virtually certain that these tragic deaths, as well as 9 accidents at other private crossings, with a death toll of 10 motorists and passengers and 2 non-fatal collisions, would have been prevented if the crossing was equipped with active warning devices.  Both UP and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings.  Studies have confirmed that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train collisions by as much as 96%.