(Neosho, Missouri – November 28, 2014)
A 67-year-old Neosho, MO man was injured Friday morning at about 11:30 A.M., CST in Newton County, MO about five miles west of Neosho when his vehicle was hit by a BNSF freight train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Gazelle Drive and BNSF railroad tracks.
Melvin L. Souders was airlifted to Freeman Health System Hospital in Joplin, MO where he was admitted with undisclosed injuries.
The driver likely never saw the train as he drove east on Gazelle Road over the crossing as the crossing lacks any form of active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to alert motorists of the 21 trains that cross there at a top allowable speed of 50 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%.