(Butler, Indiana – June 5, 2017)
A 32-year-old Butler, IN father and three children were hospitalized after a Norfolk Southern freight train struck the eastbound farm truck last Monday evening at about 8:38 P.M. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of DeKalb County Road 34 and NS track.
Mathew Hubert and what were believed to be his three children, two girls and a boy, were all taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne. Their injured ranged from a broken upper right arm to various back and head injuries and abrasions. The train-vehicle collision destroyed the family’s 2000 Dodge Ram pickup when it was hit by the northbound NS train. The crossing accommodates one of a daily average of 40 trains at maximum speeds of 60 mph.
With only passive railroad cross-buck and highway yield signs to “notify” drivers of the presence of the heavily-used rail crossing, Hubert said he neither saw nor heard the approaching train. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Both Norfolk Southern 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%.
The single-track crossing had been the site of a single, non-injury collision in the past.