(Bay St. Louis, Mississippi – April 11, 2014)
A yet to be identified Mississippi motorist driving a dark blue, four door, mid-size car was seriously injured late Friday night when he attempted to cross CSX tracks at the dangerous and unguarded grade crossing of South Toulme Street near the City Park in Bay St. Louis, MS.
The vehicle was impaled with its driver trapped inside and left a debris field several hundred yards long. With crossing lights flashing in the background, news media photographed the ill-fated vehicle at the Second Street crossing, virtually implying that the motorist had been struck at a protected crossing. Such was far from the case. In fact, the South Toulme Street/CSX crossing is notorious, as Friday night’s collision was the 10th since the Federal Railroad Administration began keeping records of crossing collisions in the early 1970’s, and Friday’s crash resulted in the fifth injury from such accidents.
Yet, 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%.
The victim was taken to the Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis for treatment of his injuries.