(Gonzales, Louisiana – August 24, 2018)
Barely a year since the most recent train/highway vehicle collision at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of East Ascension Avenue and Kansas City Southern rails, another truck/train crash has taken the life of an Innovative Waste Systems trash truck operator.
This time Friday’s KCS train was allegedly traveling at 47 mph upon impact with the truck that claimed the life of Baker, LA resident Willie Hall at 8:19 A.M., CDT. This was actually the fourth train collision to occur at the road/rail intersection that lacks any form of protective warning devices. On a daily basis, an average of a half dozen KCS freight trains traverse the Ascension crossing on a daily basis at a maximum allowable speed of 49 mph,
Gonzales Police Lt. Steven Nethken pointed out to Baton Rouge Advocate Reporters David Mitchell and Ellyn Couvillion that “The railroad crossing where the crash happened has neither flashing lights nor crossing gates that lower to block traffic from going over the tracks when a train is nearby,” and that the victim “apparently did not see the train.”
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision and the three before it would not have happened. Both Kansas City Southern and Operation Lifesaver all 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%.