(Kansas City, Missouri – June 20, 2019)
The front seat passenger of a westbound Ford SUV died and the driver was seriously injured and transported to a Kansas City, MO hospital after the vehicle they were in collided with a southbound Kansas City Southern train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of East Front Street in the East Bottoms industrial area of Kansas City, MO about 9:20 PM, CDT. KCMO Police would not identify either victim prior to notificatio0n of next-of-kin.
The conductor of the switching train was in the process of, but had not completed, marking the two directional lanes of traffic with red fusee flares to serve as a warning to drivers. As reported by Kaitlyn Schwers of the Kansas City Star, “The area does not have electronic crossing gates,” an observation repeated by KSHB-TV, Channel 41 News that “The crossing is marked with railroad crossing signs, but is not illuminated or electronic.”
Neither did it have flashing lights to alert motorists of the pair of daily trains that pass through the area at 10 mph. This collision was the fifth to occur there and was the second death to be suffered at the road/rail crossing.
Under railroad operating rules, a train approaching a crossing being flagged by a crew member must first ascertain that vehicular traffic has been halted and the flagman is in position to signal the train to stop if the flares or flags are ignored or otherwise not heeded. In such case, the train’s movement is not to commence. It appears the railroad failed to follow their operating rules, causing this tragedy.