(Morrisville, North Carolina – November 14, 2015)
A married couple tragically lost their lives Saturday night at about 8:00 P.M., EST when their Toyota Camry became lodged upon Norfolk Southern railroad tracks that narrowly parallel Chapel Hill Road at the signalized but questionably-designed crossing of Morrisville-Carpenter Road in Morrisville, NC, and was struck by a westbound freight train.
The couple, William L. Flint, 86, the driver, and his wife, Dorothy L. Flint, 83, both of Cary, NC, were travelling on Morrisonville-Carpenter Road and attempted to make a right turn onto Chapel Hill Road when they accidentally mistook the railroad tracks paralleling the heavily-traveled highway for an inside lane of Chapel Hill Road. Their vehicle then immediately became impaled upon the tracks. Although the Norfolk Southern crossing is equipped with flashing lights, bells and gates, news media photos and Federal Railroad Administration documents describing the fatal site show no evidence of crossing illumination which would have helped prevent the darkness from concealing the poorly-constructed nature of the intersection.
“It looks like they just made a wrong turn and ended up on the track when the train was coming and were unable to move their vehicle,” City of Morrisville spokeswoman Stephanie Smith told Raleight, NC ABC affiliate Channel 11 TV.
However, the position of the car and witness statements indicated that the lights and gates were not activated and the train was not present when the couple’s car became lodged upon the railroad tracks which allegedly carry only an average of a single train daily at a maximum allowable speed of 10 mph, even though photos from the scene question the consistency of the records.