(Woodburn, Kentucky – April 7, 2016)
Numerous questions remained unanswered Thursday after a 22-year-old Bowling Green, KY woman was seriously injured and taken to a Nashville, TN hospital following a collision with a CSX train. The crossing where the collision occurred was being worked on by CSX signal workers trying to address a report of crossing lights failing to operate properly at the intersection of Woodburn Allen Springs Road (Kentucky State Highway 240, listed on Federal Railroad Administration records as “Ming Road”) and a CSX single main line track. That crossing accommodates a daily average of 18 trains at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph in the small community of Woodburn, KY.
Chelsey Beller, the driver of the gray Nissan Altima, was first taken by ground ambulance to the Medical Center of Bowling Green, but was then airlifted to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, where she was listed in stable but guarded condition from injuries incurred in the 8:45 A.M accident.
Police conducting the investigation at first told Bowling Green WBKO Fox Radio Reporter Lyndsey Gough that “preliminary investigation shows the lights at the crossing were functional”, but later being non-communicative after Gough reported that “CSX train company says the railroad lights had not been working at the intersection and a crew was sent out to repair them.”
CSX Railroad employees were, indeed, at the site when the collision occurred, as they rushed to the damaged auto after the impact of the collision sent it, with the victim still strapped inside, spinning into the backyard of Harold Logan at 108 Main Street in Woodburn.
Bowling Green Daily News Reporter Deborah Highland determined that neither Logan, who was in the front yard of his home, not his girl friend, Jo Driver, who was inside the house watching TV, were aware of the collision until Driver went outside and found the railroad employees gathered around the wrecked vehicle in her boyfriend’s back yard. Addressing the motorist, Ms. Driver related that “I said ‘are you OK’”, and that “She (the motorist) mumbled a little.”
Thereafter, Kentucky State Police investigators and railroad personnel ceased to talk to reporters. “A Kentucky State Police Trooper at the scene declined to release information,” reported Highland, “and directed all inquiries to Post 3 spokesman Trooper B.J. Eaton, who was teaching a class and unable to come to the scene. Employees for CSX on the scene also declined to comment.”
News media photographs and satellite- generated ground views of the scene showed the presence of massive tree growth near the tracks along SR 240, a condition which could have made an approaching train difficult, if not impossible, to see given the perceived non-operational condition of the non-gated crossing’s flashing lights.