(Page City, Kansas – June 18, 2014)
The 29-year-old driver of a 2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck and a husband for barely a week may never have seen or even expected the eastbound Union Pacific train that took his life Wednesday afternoon at about 5:40 P.M. as he attempted to drive south across the dangerous, unguarded Front Street crossing of UPRR tracks. The position of the sun as well as a the presence of a large grain elevator, even though on the opposite side of the tracks, may also have been factors in the fatality of Adam Meska of Winona, KS, who was pronounced dead at the scene after the collision with one of the four UPRR trains that cross Front Street daily at a top allowable speed of 49 mph.
Equally important as the factors that were there are those that were not: properly-functioning flashing lights, bells and crossing gates. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this tragedy. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.
The tragic event overshadowed the fact that, according to information provided by the Kennedy-Koster Funeral Home in Oakley, the victim had only been married to his wife, Erin, since June 12, 2014. He was employed as a chef.
The accuracy of Federal Railroad Administration-published, but railroad-provided crossing history information in Logan County, KS is sketchy at best, and considerably inaccurate and incomplete at worst.