(Paris, Missouri November 19, 2016)
An 80-year-old Monroe County, MO resident was killed a little before 2:00 P.M., CST Saturday afternoon when his southbound pickup truck was hit by an eastbound Norfolk Southern freight train at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of NS railroad tracks and Monroe County Road 235.
Stanley Thurman of Paris, MO was pronounced dead after his truck was struck at the partially obscured and extremely angular crossing. The crossing offers no advanced warning for drivers of the 11 trains which cross there on an average day at a maximum allowable speed of 50 mph. There are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, at the crossing. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern 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%.
Satellite maps show that not only do eastbound trains approach at a very acute angle, but that a large, rocky, earthen mound makes trains headed east difficult for southbound motorists to see trains coming from the west, which was the situation in Saturdays deadly crash.
Tragically, the vulnerability of southbound drivers attempting to cross Norfolk Sothern tracks, but being unable to see trains approaching eastbound should be no secret to the railroad officials. On December 21, 2012, an accident of the exact same circumstances occurred as a southbound motorist driving a pickup truck was struck by an eastbound NS train at almost the same time, 1:25 P.M., CST. Yet, the crossing remained unguarded, leading to another accident, this one fatal.