(Austin, Indiana – February 1, 2020)
The driver of a motor vehicle was killed and her two passengers flown to a Louisville, KY hospital with life-threatening injuries after their car was crushed by a CSX freight train. The train was traveling on Louisville & Indiana Railroad tracks in the Scott County, Indiana community of Austin, IN at the time. The collision occurred last Saturday afternoon at about 5:00 PM at the dangerous and unguarded road/rail crossing of West Booe Road (Christie Road) and L&I rails.
Pronounced deceased at the scene was Stephanie Trabue, 22, of Scottsburg, IN. Her two passengers, Karli Rose, 20, and Hannah Combs, 17, both of Scottsburg, were airlifted to The University of Louisville Hospital, where they were admitted in critical condition.
Scott County Sheriff Jerry Goodin pointed out to WAVE-TV, Channel 3 News that there were no crossing gates at the crossing. It is virtually certain that lights and gates could have prevented this collision. Louisville & Indiana, CSX and Operation Lifesaver 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 collisions by as much as 96%.
The angle of the late afternoon sun may have been a contributory factor in the collision as well.
According to Federal Railroad Administration-kept records, the collision was the first recorded between any of the eight daily CSX and Louisville & Indiana trains that operate across Booe/Christie Road at speeds up to 49 mph.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office was assisting the Indiana State Police with the investigation into the tragic collision.