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Mother, Daughter Escape Death at Dangerous, Unguarded, Obscured Oregon Crossing

(Marion County, Oregon – August 24, 2012)

A 34-year-old mother and her 12-year-old daughter barely escaped what could have been a deadly collision between a 1999 Dodge Intrepid they were driving and a Portland & Western Railroad freight train Friday evening at 6:54 P.M. at the dangerous, unguarded, heavily obscured crossing of Waconda Road and P&W Railroad tracks near Keizer, OR in Marion County. Both occupants were badly shaken, but otherwise uninjured.

Graciela Garcia-Soto and her daughter, who was not identified by name, were eastbound at the crossing, which has only standard, passive railroad crossbuck and highway stop signs, lacking any form of active protective signalization such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates, when they were struck by the 19-car northbound train operating at 25 mph.

The crossing of Waconda Road and P&W railroad tracks is extremely difficult to cross, as it is in a heavily wooded and underbrush-covered area, as well as having structures right up to trackside, making oncoming trains nearly impossible to see without exposing the highway vehicle to the train’s pathway.

Regardless, the driver was cited by Marion County Sheriff’s deputies for not stopping for the train.

The Portland & Western is one of 66 railroads and port facilities operated by short line and regional railroad giant Providence & Worcester conglomerate, which operates over 520 miles of track in Oregon.