(Jamestown, Indiana – August 3, 2011)
As the community reels in the shock of Tuesday’s car/train crossing accident that took two lives and seriously injured a third, the Hendricks County Flyer, published in Avon, IN, is taking a critical look at events which preceded the tragedy. The events are also causing residents to consider future danger to locals of the Jamestown, IN area.
The crossing in question is that of Boone County Line Road and CSX Railroad tracks, protected only by railroad crossbuck signs, where yesterday a 22-car CSX freight train struck a car carrying three elderly women. The car was flipped several times and came to rest on its top, 40 yards from the impact. Strangely, “onboard video on the engine of the train showed that (the motorist) failed to hesitate or stop at the intersection.”
Ordinarily, railroads protect such evidence, claiming copyright infringement or the need of days of work to “download” the videos of accidents, and give authorities an ‘edited’ copy. Meanwhile, jurisdiction for the railroad crossing is split, because the crossing lies partially in each of Boone County and Hendricks County.
The Rev. Wally Beam, who lives in Jamestown and preaches at the nearby Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist Church, said that commissioners of both counties allowed CSX to raise train speeds across the crossing about five years ago. Rev. Beam recalled that local residents “asked for crossing gates to be put in because it was hard to see oncoming trains,” and school buses of two adjoining school districts use the crossing several times daily.
Hendricks County Engineer John Ayers agreed with Rev. Beam’s remarks, saying that CSX had requested the increased train speeds, and that Jamestown officials had requested the installation of lights and gates. But once the speeds were increased, the crossing failed to qualify for federal funding, leaving the potential of a $200,000 to $250,000 expense which, at the time, “A CSX representative said the company would be willing to pay a part.”
NOTE: See our research paper entitled “Dangerous Crossings Kill Good Drivers”.