(Vanduser, Missouri – June 8, 2015)
A 55-year-old Scott County, MO mechanic driving a county-owned Ford F-350 pickup truck was killed Monday morning at about 10:25 A.M., CDT when his westbound truck was hit by a southbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Scott County Road 432 (also known as Greer Street) and BNSF railroad tracks outside of Vanduser, MO.
Boby J. Long, 55, the father of six grown children, grandfather of 18 and great-grandfather of two, was pronounced dead at the scene by Scott County Asst. Coroner James Donner. Long’s tragic death was publicly revealed shortly thereafter by Scott County Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn as he helped dedicate the Irvin Garms Memorial Highway.
The crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, which can give warning of the approach of any of the daily average of a dozen BNSF trains that cross CR 432 at that point at top allowable speeds of 55 mph. It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both BNSF 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 Federal Railroad Administration records, the tragedy marked the third collision but first fatality to be suffered at the crossing which, although properly describing the intersection as having “only a crossing sign present at the scene”, an area publication added a file photo of a fully-equipped gated, flashing light crossing to its news story rather than properly-depicting the actual crossing’s lack of protective devices.