(Exeter, Missouri – April 26, 2017)
A 73-year-old driver was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital in Cassville, MO Wednesday after her westbound 2015 Nissan Versa attempted to cross an unguarded Arkansas & Missouri Railroad crossing. She was struck by a freight train at the intersection of 24047 Private Drive, just off Barry County Farm Road 1065 south of Exeter, MO at about 11:08 A.M., CDT Wednesday morning. Sylvia Hayworth of Washburn, MO was wearing her seat belt when her car was struck and totaled by the train.
Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers who responded to the tragedy pointed out that “there’s no signal device at the crossing.” Hayworth likely never saw or heard the train, operated by the Springdale, AR-headquartered Class III short line. According to Federal Railroad Administration files, the A&M RR operates a daily average of a half dozen trains across the deadly crossing at a maximum allowable speed of 49 mph.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Arkansas & Missouri Railroad 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%.