(High Point, North Carolina – January 25, 2013)
A 34-year-old man was killed instantly and his 2010 Toyota Corolla minivan completely destroyed when he stopped for a westbound Norfolk Southern freight train at the double-track crossing of NS rails and Pendleton Street in High Point, NC, only to then proceed into the path of an eastbound Amtrak passenger train traveling toward Washington, DC and New York, NY at 65 mph at about 3:15 A.M. Friday morning, a speed confirmed by HPPD Officer Justin Fleming.
High Point Police also said that Dy Vongdara was headed home from work and that the freight train may have obstructed his vision and prevented him from seeing the Amtrak train.
The victim’s vehicle virtually exploded, with parts being scattered for 100 yards beyond the crossing, after he apparently thought the crossing gates were still down for the freight train that had just passed. Two men who claimed to be relatives of the victim arrived on the scene about dawn and surveyed the damage and the tragic site.
The crossing is equipped with flashing lights, bells and crossing gates, and the NS rail corridor accommodates a total of 46 trains, including eight Amtrak operations, daily at a top timetable speed of 65 mph.