(Middlebrook, Missouri – December 28, 2015)
A 62-year-old local resident had barely left his rural Middlebrook, MO home when he encountered Amtrak’s St. Louis bound “Texas Eagle” with 171 passengers and 14 train crew members on board at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Iron County Road 32 at about 9:00 A.M., CST Monday morning. The ensuing collision at the ambiguously described crossing in the Federal Railroad Administration’s database (which claims only two trains, none of them Amtrak, pass over the intersection daily at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph) killed Clarence (Glen) Wisdom.
There were three earlier accidents at the crossing, but Monday’s tragedy marked the first fatality. This crossing lacked any form of active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this accident and the two prior accidents would not have happened. Union Pacific, Amtrak, 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%
Iron County Coroner Tony Cole arrived and pronounced the victim, whose pickup truck was demolished, dead at 9:20 A.M., CST.
“There is a camera on the train and the Missouri State Highway Patrol will examine that to assist in finding a probable cause,” stated Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley.
The Cole Family Funeral Home in Ironton, MO is coordinating the victim’s funeral arrangements.