(Colfax, Louisiana – October 1, 2014)
The lack of any active crossing warning system was once again a factor as a 66-year-old Louisiana motorist lost his life at the dangerous and unguarded Kansas City Southern Grant Parish railroad crossing on the southern edge of Colfax, LA Wednesday afternoon at about 3:24 P.M., CDT.
Drewey R. “Red” Holsomback of Colfax, who was northbound on Hodnett Road, was killed instantly when his 2000 Ford dually pickup truck, which was pulling a utility trailer, was struck on the passenger’s side by a KCS freight train.
The KCS crossing of Hodnett Road (Grant Parish Road 482) is at an odd angle for approach of trains, seriously limiting motorist sight distance for both directions. But the most serious problem for drivers of highway vehicles who cross paths with the daily average of 10 KCS trains which use the crossing at a top allowable speed of 49 mph is the total absence of any form of active crossing protection – flashing lights, bells and crossing gates.
It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both Kansas City Southern and Operation Lifesaver all 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%.
Parish Sheriff Steven McCain investigated the tragic accident.