(Michigan City, Indiana – October 23, 2015)
A Michigan City, IN motorist was critically injured Friday evening at about 7:40 P.M. when he attempted to cross CSX railroad tracks at the non-gated intersection of Tilden Avenue.
Alejandro Carrillo-Gaeta was traveling eastbound on Harrison Street and then turned north, where he quickly encountered the railroad crossing, which has flashing lights but no gates to provide the most effective crossing protective package. His 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer was struck by a Chicago-bound Amtrak passenger train and dragged 140 feet. the Michigan City Fire Department then extradited the injured driver from the vehicle.
The railroad right-of-way is bordered by a thick line of trees, making it difficult for the approaching driver to see down the tracks, and trains emerge from a virtual tunnel as they approach the crossing.
The victim was first taken to Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, but, due to the critical nature of his injuries, was subsequently airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN, where his condition was listed as critical.
Although Federal Railroad Administration statistics, which are railroad-supplied, state the crossing is only used by a daily average of only five CSX freight and Amtrak passenger trains which cross Tilden Avenue at an alleged 30 mph, the rear car of the train was 500 feet beyond the intersection before the train ground to a halt. The CSX/Tilden Avenue crossing’s protection has remained unchanged since a 1998 fatal accident. Friday’s near-tragedy was the fourth collision to occur there.