(Allen County, Kansas – September 2, 2017)
A 62-year-old motorist from Elsmore, KS was fatally injured early Saturday afternoon at about 1:02 P.M., CDT, when her eastbound 2008 Honda was struck by a southbound Union Pacific freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of UPRR tracks and Idaho Road in Allen County, KS.
Melodee McEndree, the driver, died as a result of the collision. Ms. McEndree’s collision was the second accident to occur at the crossing where there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates to warn of the 16 daily Union Pacific trains that cross Idaho Road on an average day at a maximum speed of 60 mph. The victim, who was wearing her seatbelt, doubtfully ever saw or heard the train, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision and the eight before it would not have occurred. Both Union Pacific 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 accidents by as much as 96%.