(Florien, Louisiana November 29, 2016)
A local teenager was killed Tuesday afternoon at about 4:15 P.M., CST, when he was struck by a train as he attempted to cross Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks at the dangerous, unguarded and unusually engineered intersection with Gandy Road in Florien, LA.
Kevin Joseph Brown was driving his 2007 Chevrolet pickup eastbound on the oddly designed crossing when the northbound train struck his vehicle. The crossing of KCS railroad tracks intersect the roadway at the apex of a curve on Gandy Road, which makes oncoming trains difficult to see. According to Federal Railroad Administration records, an average of 18 trains traverse this crossing daily at a maximum speed of 59 mph. Sabine Parish Deputy Coroner Ron River pronounced the17-year-old driver dead at the scene.
The KCS/Gandy Road crossing has cross-buck signs but no lighted signals, reported Shreveport, LA KTBS-TVs Vickie Welborn, thus indicating that there were no automatic warning lights or crossing gates to prevent the crossing collision. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both KCS and Operation Lifesaver know that 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%.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there had been two previous train/highway vehicle crashes at the crossing, with one non-fatal injury being suffered. Tuesdays tragedy represented the first fatality there.
Louisiana State Police troopers from Troop E responded to the accident.