(Lebanon, Indiana – November 20, 2018)
An as-yet unidentified woman motorist escaped death, but was seriously injured, when her car was struck by a CSX freight train Tuesday. The collision occurred at the crossing of CSX rails and CR 250 N near Lebanon, IN.
Witnesses said the woman froze as she pulled slowly across the tracks at the dangerous and unguarded crossing and saw the train bearing down upon her. The train hit her car on the passenger’s side, deployed its airbags, and carried it, with the victim still inside, about a quarter of a mile down the tracks before coming to a stop.
Emergency responders could not get an ambulance to her car due to the rough rail side terrain. They were forced to carry her on a hand-held stretcher to the ambulance at the CSX crossing. She was then rushed to Witham Hospital in Lebanon for treatment of her crash-induced injuries.
Federal Railroad Administration statistics reveal trains traverse the crossing a maximum speed of 25 mph. The FRA also says the last car/train collision at the crossing occurred a little over two years ago, when another driver was injured in an accident on October 24, 2016.
The CSX/CR 250 N railroad crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to provide an advance warning of oncoming trains. The addition of lights and gates would almost surely have prevented this collision. CSX and Operation Lifesaver both 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%.