(Vermillion County, Illinois – February 28, 2015)
A 62-year-old Alvin, IL resident was killed early Saturday morning at about 12:57 A.M. when his eastbound 2012 automobile collided with a CSX freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of 2950 North Road East in Vermillion County, IL, just south of Alvin.
Larry Watson, who lived on an adjacent county road north of the site of the tragedy, was the victim, and both the Vermillion County Sheriff and Coroner are continuing their investigation.
Vermillion County Sheriff’s Office Captain Rod Kaag said of location that “It’s in a rural area on a dead-end road,” adding that there were no warning lights nor crossing arms at the tracks, which Federal Railroad Administration records say are used by an average of 18 trains daily at a top allowable speed of 60 mph.
Not only is the crossing of 2950 North Road East not equipped with flashing lights and gates, which could certainly have prevented the accident, but it is the only public crossing in the rail corridor which has no active protective devices.
It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both CSX 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%.