(Dalton City, Illinois – July 20, 2017)
A 41-year-old Illinois farm worker whose tractor was hauling a weed sprayer died of his injuries after his eastbound farm vehicle was struck by a northbound Canadian National freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Moultrie County Road 2000 North about a mile south of Dalton City, IL Thursday evening at about 8:30 P.M., CDT.
Robert D. Day of Hammond, IL, was entrapped in the burning wreckage of his agricultural machine, and was rescued by firefighters before the flames reached him. After extrication, the victim was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL, where he was pronounced dead on arrival by the Sangamon County Coroner.
He had attempted to cross the unguarded crossing, which was not equipped with any form of active warnings, such as lights and gates. According to records, a daily average of four trains crossing the county road at a maximum speed of 40 mph. Considering the additional factors that certain quadrants of the CN/CR 2000 North intersection offer only hampered views of the railroad tracks due to tall standing corn stocks and the close parallel proximity of Illinois Highway 121 that leaves little storage space for vehicles between the railroad tracks and the extremely busy highway, the situation was extremely hazardous.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Both CN and Operation Lifesaver all 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%.