(Pulaski County, Illinois – February 23, 2021)
A 76-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman were killed after their white Ford pickup truck was struck by a Canadian National freight train late Tuesday morning at approximately 11:20 am. The collision occurred as the couple, Lanny Stocke and Betty Stocke of Carmi, Illinois, were traveling on U.S. 51, turned westbound onto McIntosh Farm Lane when they were struck by a northbound Canadian National train.
The deadly crossing accommodates on average eighteen Cn freight train a day at a maximum speed of 79 miles per hour. The crossing where this collision occurred is currently categorized by CN as a private crossing. As a result, it is unclear of the CN train ever blew the train horn prior to the collision. CN internal rules do not require train crews to blow the train horn at private crossings. Illinois also does not have a statute or regulation requiring train crews to blow horns at private crossings like they are required to do at public crossings.
Compounding the problem with a lack of reliable horn sounding, the crossing does not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both CN 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%.
The accident was being investigated by the Illinois State Police.