(Oakland, Kentucky – August 10, 2016)
A 28-year-old utility truck driver was killed the day before his 29th birthday at about 10:30 A.M. Wednesday morning in the Warren County, KY community of Oakland. The motorist was struck by one of the 20 CSX freight trains that cross the non-gated intersection with Vine Street daily at maximum speeds of 60 mph. Two eyewitnesses also narrowly escaped death from debris from the collision between the truck and the train.
Pronounced dead after being transported to The Medical Center in Bowling was Raymond Brooks Barry of Atlanta, GA, whom the coroner said died of “massive head trauma” suffered in the collision.
Barely escaping death was a resident of Rasdall Street, which parallels CSX rails a half block ahead of the collision point, and her friend from Bowling Green, KY, who were visiting on the side porch of the residence when the tragedy occurred. “I’m shaking all over,” testified Ethel Tuck, 78, who saw the collision occur. “Every time I close my eyes I see that train hit!” she told Bowling Green Daily News writer Charles A. Mason at the scene.
Meanwhile, Grace claimed to have heard the collision, but research later revealed that what she “heard” was the truck tire which barely missed her as it smashed through her residence door and entered her home.
Only flashing lights are present at the Vine Street/CSX crossing, and their effectiveness has been questioned in the past. Especially after a local farmer had his tractor hit and destroyed as he lost his life on November 2, 2010, in a tragedy that occurred just after 11 A.M.”They need to put something up there to get people to stop,” said the still-traumatized Tuck. The crossing lacks automatic gates, which have been shown to reduce the likelihood of a collision by up to two-thirds.
Kentucky State Patrol Trooper Tomie Walters, who investigated the tragedy said that he has been researching and evaluating accident scenarios for 20 years, and commented that “I’ve never seen anything like this.”