Railroad News

Kansas Motorist Killed, Two Passengers Injured at Dangerous, Unguarded Watco Crossing

(Maize, Kansas – October 26, 2021)

A local mom was killed and her two passenger daughters were seriously injured in a railroad crossing collision last week just outside of Wichita, Kansas. The collision occurred near the roadway intersection of 53rd St. N. & 135th St. W. in Sedgwick County, Kansas. According to police reports, the mother, Ana Hirai Guerrero-Dominguez, was driving a pickup truck when it was struck by a Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad freight train at an unguarded railroad crossing. Her daughters were taken to a local hospital with critical injuries.

The local sheriff’s office investigating the collision believes Ms. Guerrero-Dominguez likely never heard or saw the train before impact. There is a line of trees that could have obstructed her view down the tracks. This Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad is a subsidiary of the railroad conglomerate, Watco Companies.

The K&O crossing accommodates a daily average of two trains at speeds of 40 mph. Yet, it does not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that this collision could have been prevented if lights and gates were installed. Watco 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%.

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