(Galva, Illinois – April 14, 2016)
The driver of an empty agricultural semi trailer truck was killed and at least one of 47 passengers and four crew members of Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr sustained injury at about 10:00 A.M., CDT Thursday morning after the Chicago-to-Quincy, IL train struck the victim’s rig at a dangerous and unguarded double-track BNSF rail crossing, which is a little more than a mile southwest of the Illinois community of Galva in Henry County, IL.
A daily average of 28 BNSF freight and Amtrak passenger trains at a maximum permissible speed of 79 mph travel over the crossing. Yet, the crossing is not equipped with 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. Amtrak, BNSF 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%.
Staff Writer Doug Boock of The Galesburg Register-Mail said that “The Henry County Sheriff’s Office reported that one female passenger on the train was transported from the scene with unknown injuries,” a fact verified by Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.
Lead investigative agency was the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Illinois State Police, Galva Police Dept., BNSF Police, Galva/Bishop Hill Fire Dept., and Henry County Ambulance Service in addition to the Henry County Coroner’s Office.