(Clarksville, Michigan – July 6, 2015)
In the pre-dawn darkness of Monday morning, a motorist attempting to drive his minivan across CSX railroad tracks at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of Darby Road just outside of Clarksville, MI collided with one of the tank cars seemingly lacking any reflective striping. Post-accident news media pictured a string of unmarked oil tank cars stopped on the unguarded crossing.
The crossing was equipped not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. Police told Fox Channel 17 News that “there is no crossing arm (or flashing lights) at that particular crossing due to the fact that there is very little traffic on the rural road.”
Federal Railroad Administration documents say that in 2007 (the last time the inventory was updated), a daily average of five trains crossed there at a maximum speed of 40 mph, and 70 highway vehicles cross with a 55 mph posted highway speed limit. The ingredients for the end result add up and the unfortunate one was the motorist – whom police said was “lucky to be alive.”