(Poteau, Oklahoma – August 9, 2016)
The non-gated intersection of Kansas City Southern railroad tracks and Dewey Avenue in Poteau, OK, where a 37-year-old mother of four died, along with her three sons, and her daughter was injured, was in the process of receiving crossing gates. The addition of crossing gates would almost have certainly prevented the tragic collision.
The sole survivor of the horrible crash, Jaclynn Goines, 8, remained in serious condition at St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa, where she was life-flighted Sunday.
Deceased were April Goines, a mother who also worked as a nurse, and her sons, Jace Hardy, 17, Remington Goines and Ruger Goines, 7, The family lived in the community of Shady Point, OK, just north of Poteau, where the accident happened, and just south of Panama, OK, where all four children attended school.
Grant Ralls, Panama Supt. of Schools, where classes were scheduled to start Thursday, August 11, said that because funeral services for the family are still in the planning stages, the opening date now is in jeopardy. “It’s something you never get over.” “These kids are our life. It pains me to have to talk about them because of having to go through this, but our thoughts and prayers go out to these parents.”
Meanwhile, research by Channel 5 News found that crossing gates were recommended for the crossing as far back as 2011, when, according to an Oklahoma DOT spokesperson, “federal funds were in place to add safety measures to crossings across the state.” “The crossing at Dewey Avenue in Poteau was identified and approved to receive the funding.” However, the ODOT spokesperson said that “the city was not able to come up with their 10 percent to match the federal funds. The work would have allowed crossing gates to be installed at the crossing.”
The ODOT spokesperson went on to say that “the crossing stayed on a list until this year when the city approved paying the10 percent in matching funds. The safety project is expected to be complete in one year. It will add a crossing gate and a sidewalk to the north side of Dewey Avenue. The project is estimated to cost $313,000.”