(Purdy, Missouri – February 19, 2020)
A 59-year-old grandmother was killed and her two grandchildren seriously injured Wednesday afternoon just after 4:00 PM, CST, when her 2000 Honda was demolished by an Arkansas & Missouri freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Washington Street and A&M railroad tracks in Purdy, MO..
The grandmother, Fransisca Perez Salas of Purdy, was pronounced deceased at the scene by Barry County officials. Her 8-year-old granddaughter and 3-year-old grandson were airlifted to Cox Hospital in Springfield, MO, where they were both admitted in serious condition.
The A&M operates a daily average of two freight trains at a maximum speed of 49 mph over the Washington Street crossing. Wednesday’s collision was the fifth vehicle/train accident to occur at the railroad crossing. However, there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn the nearly 500 motorists, including two school bus drivers , of oncoming trains.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates could have prevented this collision and the four before it. A&M 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 collisions by as much as 96%.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol and Barry County Sheriff’s Office were investigating the collision.