(Claremont, North Carolina – March 26, 2012)
Returning from a delivery of oxygen tanks to an 89-year-old woman, the driver of a Lincare Home Oxygen & Respiratory Service van received serious injuries when the vehicle he was operating was struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train traveling at 45 mph at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Sherlock Street and NS railroad tracks in Claremont, NC Monday afternoon about 1:10 P.M.
Daryll Setzer, 59, of Hickory, NC, was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center after being hit by the NS train, which struck the rear portion of his vehicle, spinning it completely around, blowing out the back doors and scattering oxygen tanks and other respiratory equipment across a wide area near the crossing.
The intersection, which for some reason is considered a “private” crossing and thus relieving train crews from sounding the locomotive’s whistle as trains approach, is equipped only with passive railroad crossbuck, highway stop, and “private crossing” signs, completely lacking any form of automatic signal protection such as flashing lights, bells or gates.
Misty Ly, a neighbor of the woman to whom Setzer had just delivered oxygen attested to nearly having been struck by a train at the same crossing in the past, and wishes gates would be erected at the crossing, especially in the light of a train/car collision that occurred there in 2004 that injured four vehicular occupants. But “Private roads, such as Sherlock Street, typically don’t have train crossing arms,” said Norfolk Southern Director of Public Relations Robin Chapman.