(Catlettsburg, Kentucky – February 28, 2013)
A worker at the Calgon plant in Boyd County, KY, just outside of Catlettsburg, KY, was injured and taken to a Huntington, WV hospital Thursday morning after his pickup truck was struck by a southbound CSX freight train as he crossed the dangerous, unguarded crossing of the plant access road and CSX Railway just off Old U.S. Highway 23 at about 6:40 A.M.
John Patterson, 38, of Rush, KY was just arriving for work when his vehicle was struck and shoved 30 feet down the track before it disentangled from the train’s locomotive at the crossing, which has no active protective devices like flashing lights, bells or crossing gates, depending instead upon what a WSAZ-TV, Channel 3 news crew described as “a small sign at the crossing warning drivers that this is an active crossing and to look for trains.”
Boyd County Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the accident pointed out that Wednesday’s crash was the second vehicle to tangle with a train at this particular crossing in the past several months, and, indeed, Federal Railroad Administration records show that intersection experienced another injury accident on May 2, 2012, as well as that there were two other accidents there before the 2012 one.
Railroad industry sources have long claimed that the addition of lights, bells and gates could eliminate around 90% of crossing collisions like the one that occurred Thursday morning.
Also according to the FRA, a daily average of 14 trains pass over that particular crossing at maximum allowable speeds of 40 mph. As the crossing is what is considered as a “private” crossing, trains are not even obligated to blow their horns as they approach the crossing under FRA operating safety rules. Rules like that are the kinds that add to the causal factors of accidents like Thursday’s.