(Steele, Missouri – October 20, 2012)
A very well-known Missouri Boot Heel area businessman, Scott Spence, 53, of Steele, MO, died from injuries received in a collision between his eastbound 2000 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and a northbound BNSF freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Pemiscot County Road 470 and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks a mile south of Steele, MO Saturday afternoon at about 2:40 P.M.
Spence was the owner of two area lumber yards, one in Steele and the other in Portageville, MO.
The CR 470/BNSF crossing is “protected” solely by standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs, lacking completely any active flashing lights, bells or crossing gates which railroad authorities have long claimed would prevent over 90% of such tragic accidents.
County Road 470 crosses BNSF tracks at an extremely acute angle as vehicles approach from the direction both the victim’s pickup and the train did, and the road then feeds into U.S. Highway 61 just a few yards beyond the railroad tracks, thus creating an extremely hazardous intersection, especially for eastbound highway vehicles encountering northbound trains.
The victim was thrown from his vehicle, which was totally destroyed in the tragedy, and was taken by ambulance to Great Rivers Medical Center in Blytheville, AR, where he was pronounced dead at 3:55 P.M. by Mississippi County, AR Coroner Mike Godsey.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol was investigating the tragedy.