(Duff, Indiana – July 28, 2016)
A Vanderburgh County, Indiana man was pronounced dead at the scene by Dubois County, IN Coroner Bob Veatch after his northbound 2009 GMC Sierra pickup truck was struck by an eastbound Norfolk Southern freight train. The collision occurred at the railroad crossing of County Road 600 West and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks Thursday evening at about 6:00 P.M. EDT.
Cody Keith, 27, was identified by authorities as the victim at the non-gated road/rail crossing.
The crossing is on a regular school bus route and the angular crossing leads to an intersection with Dubois County Road 400 South less than a car length beyond the NS railroad tracks. The addition of a crossing gate most likely would have prevented the tragic death. Studies have shown that the installation of automatic gates to flashing light only crossings have reduced accidents by two-thirds.
According to Federal Railroad Administration information, the single track crossing has an average of 19 trains traversing CR 600 West daily at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph, and one previous accident there resulted in a non-fatal injury.
Emergency first responders from both the Huntington VFD and EMS were assisted by Memorial Hospital EMS workers as they labored for over an hour to extricate the victim from the mangled truck.