(Shabbona, Illinois – July 22, 2014)
A 28-year-old mother and her 10-month-old infant both narrowly escaped death Tuesday when the Pontiac Grand Prix they were in was it by a Union Pacific train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Lee Road and UPRR tracks in Shabbona, IL at about 1:45 P.M., CDT.
Sarah K. Tompkins of Waterman, IL was eastbound when a train, one of a pair that cross there daily at a top allowable speed of 40 mph, hit her car. Tompkins and her baby being transported to Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, IL for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The UPRR/Lee Road intersection lacks any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, which likely would have prevented this accident. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know 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 collision was the third at the crossing and the second time an injury has been suffered there. Both previous accidents occurred within less than three months in 2006, one on June 30 and the other on September 20.