(Hull, Illinois – July 21, 2014)
On Monday at about 1:19 P.M., CDT, a 43-year-old garbage truck driver, Christopher Miller of Pittsfield, IL was driving a 2005 International trash truck north on 150th Street in Pike County, IL when his vehicle was struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train hauling 41 freight cars at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of the two modes of transportation. No crossing gates, flashing lights or bells signalled the approach of the train, one of 14 that operate on NS tracks daily at a top allowable speed of 60 mph.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this tragedy and the many that occurred before it. Both Norfolk Southern 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%
The collision was far from a fender-bender, with the garbage truck receiving major damage as it was spun around after being struck on the rear, coming to rest in a nearby ditch, and its driver was transported by Pike County Ambulance to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL, where he was admitted and listed in fair condition Tuesday morning.