(Moreland, Georgia – January 18, 2018)
A Georgia Department of Transportation dump truck driver, just returning from working a 12-hour shift of treating Coweta County roads with anti-icing materials during heavy winter storms that had plagued the region, lost his life to a CSX freight train. The train involved in the collision was one of a daily average of 11 that cross the dangerous and unguarded road/rail intersection of Johnson Place in Moreland, GA. The train struck the GDOT truck as he was attempting to drive over the crossing early Thursday morning.
Carey Byron Ellerbee, 60, of Thomaston, GA, was pronounced dead at the scene by Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk after the deadly collision. The crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn motorists of the train’s approach. Had the crossing been equipped with flashing lights and crossing gates, the victim would have been aware of the train he doubtfully ever heard or saw until it struck and heavily damaged the vehicle he was driving.
Ellerbee was driving the truck along South Railroad Street, which closely parallels the rail route through Moreland, and crossed the somewhat obscured tracks at the crossing storage space between the road and rails which barely accommodates a single vehicle. Johnson Place then leads to the GDOT facility a few blocks away.
Federal Railroad Administration files indicated no earlier accidents occurring at the CSX/Johnson Place crossing.