(Mildred, North Carolina – March 13, 2014)
A 24-year-old mother and her six-year-old son, who had just been picked up at the school bus stop off of U.S. 64 Alternate in the Mildred community in Edgecombe County, NC, were both injured and taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC with undisclosed injuries at about 4:15 P.M. when their car was struck by a CSX freight train at the crossing of Glenview Lane and CSX Railroad tracks. It is unclear if the crew of the CSX train blew the locomotive’s horn as it approached the allegedly private crossing of Glenview Lane and CSX railroad tracks Thursday afternoon
Amanda Starr Reagin and her son were returning home to the family’s residence on Glenview Lane when the train struck her four-door car, heavily damaging it beyond repair, and shoving it about 50 feet from the point of impact before it was cast away from the locomotive.
Because the vehicle and the injured were both on the side of CSX tracks away from Highway 64 Alternate, emergency workers were unable to reach the victims and render aid until the train crew uncoupled and moved the train cars that were still blocking the road crossing, according to Edgecombe County Assistant Fire Marshal Mark Rogerson.
The Federal Railroad Administration, whose reports indicated the rail line is not heavily used and has a train speed limit of 25 mph.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both CSX and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.
Southbound auto traffic, as the victims were heading, also enters the crossing at an extremely acute angle, making eastbound trains most difficult to see from the driver’s perspective.