(Plain Dealing, Louisiana – October 12, 2015)
A 70-year-old Zwolle, LA semi-trailer logging truck driver became the second fatal victim of a notoriously dangerous, unguarded and heavily tree-enshrouded Union Pacific Railroad grade crossing on Anthony Mill Road in Plain Dealing, LA early Monday afternoon at about 1:30 P.M., CDT. The motorist was killed when he attempted to drive the 2015 Western Star tractor with an empty log trailer attached westbound across the tracks and was struck by a southbound UPRR freight train.
The crossing, which Federal Railroad Administration catalogued records show is traversed by a daily average of a half dozen UP trains at a maximum allowable speed of 49 mph, is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The crossing is also designated as “private.”
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this accident would not have happened. Both UPRR 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%.
Almost more tragically, the same crossing was the site when, barely a year ago on September 24, 2014, a Simsboro, LA log truck driver was killed in a similar collision with a UPRR train. In fact, FRA records state that the deadly Industrial/Anthony Mill Road rail crossing has now been the location of nine train/highway vehicle crashes that have been resultant in two deaths and five non-fatal injuries.
Louisiana State Police troopers and Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Dept. officers were involved in the post-accident investigation.