(Gibson City, Illinois – January 4, 2013)
An 80-year-old husband and his 79-year-old wife were both injured Friday afternoon at about 2:15 P.M. a mile and a half south of Gibson City, IL when their westbound 2006 Ford 500 was struck by a northbound Norfolk Southern freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Ford County Road 200 North just east of Illinois Highway 47.
Eleanor Stolz was still hospitalized in fair condition Monday at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL, for injuries she received when the train struck the vehicle’s rear driver’s side and cast it into a deep ditch at the northwest quadrant of the rail/highway intersection. Although David W. Stolz was treated at the same medical facility for minor injuries and released, he received insult to injury as a Ford County Sheriff’s Officer cited him for “failure to stop for a train or signal.”
How a motorist is given a ticket for violating a crossing signal at a crossing equipped solely with standard, passive railroad crossbuck and a highway yield sign is difficult to explain. That is unless the police officers involved have been trained by railroad police personnel at a railroad-sponsored grade crossing accident investigation seminar. Even though police said that the train “had activated its flashing lights and warning horn prior to the collision,” there are no flashing lights, much less bells or crossing gates, at the intersection where the accident occurred.