(Dexter, Missouri – January 25, 2012)
A 43-year-old rural Dexter, MO resident was struck and killed at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Stoddard County Road 657 (Five Mile Road) by a UP freight train about 2:15 P.M. Wednesday afternoon.
Kelvin Wooten, who lives just a short distance from the crossing, which is marked only by standard railroad crossbuck signs, had his car dragged about two-thirds of the length of a football field before it was flung from the nose of the eastbound locomotive and overturned near the tracks. The crossing has no automatic protective devices such as lights, gates or bells.
Although investigation into the tragedy showed that Wooten attempted to avoid the collision by slamming on the brakes of his southbound auto, which was totally destroyed in the wreck, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Clark Parrott chose to make an example of the victim by inferring that he had somehow been distracted and didn’t see the train.
“When you’re driving a vehicle, that needs to be your number one priority, not texting, not answering a phone, not drinking a soda or a cup of coffee, or eating a Big Mac, it needs to be driving the vehicle,” preached the MSHP trooper, who failed to mention which the chronicled activities the victim was allegedly committing.
“What I had to do before I came out here and talk to you, troopers do it every day, and that’s tell a loved one, that their father, dad, uncle, brother, is not coming home because of a traffic crash like this,” Trooper Parrott’s admonition continued.
The MSHP, Dexter Police Dept., Stoddard County Sheriff’s Office and Dexter Fire Dept. Extrication Team all responded to the tragedy.