(Eastman, Georgia – February 1, 2016)
A 72-year-old Eastman, GA woman, known for her kindness to animals, was killed at about 4:30 P.M. on Monday when the 2013 Nissan Rogue she was driving was struck on the driver’s side by a northbound Norfolk Southern freight train as she made a left turn onto Warehouse Road/Roy Mullins Road.
Whether or not the direct glare of the setting sun in the driver’s line of vision could have been a factor in the fatality was not reported.
Magdalene “Maggie” Pruett doubtfully ever saw or heard the approaching NS train as she negotiated the poorly-configured roadway/railway intersection that includes three city streets and the parallel, single railroad track which accommodates a daily average of four freight trains at a maximum speed of 49 mph. However, this crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this tragedy would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern and Operation Lifesaver know that 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%.
Dodge County Coroner Joe Smith told WMA-TV, Channel 13 News that the victim was a grandmother and animal lover who “If she walked by a dumpster and she saw a kitten, it was going home with her.”
The Georgia State Patrol was investigating the tragedy. The crossing had experienced a single previous collision that resulted in a non-fatal injury.