(Charlotte, North Carolina – September 22, 2017)
Reports from the Charlotte-Mecklinburg, NC consolidated police agencies continued to be vague and incomplete after a 63-year-old woman was killed in a crossing collision. Apparently the passenger exited the Chevrolet Equinox, raised the crossing gate by hand, and then attempted to rejoin the driver in the car on the opposite side of Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks which intersect with Old Concord Road in the UNC-Charlotte area of town. Her vehicle was struck and she was killed by a southbound Amtrak train carrying 173 passengers she never knew or heard approaching. The tragedy was suffered Friday night just after 9:00 P.M., EST.
The car’s driver has yet to be identified, but the passenger/victim was local resident Sarah Weagba Doe.
Since two tracks, which carry a daily average of 28 NS freight and Amtrak passenger trains at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph, traverse the lighted/gated crossing where at least two earlier accidents have been suffered, the two woman noted a standing freight train on one of the tracks and assumed it was causing the gate to lower and remain down.
The Old Concord Road/NS intersection is in a Federal Railroad Administration-authorized “Quiet Zone”, where train crews do not sound the locomotive’s horn as they speed towards the crossings. Therefore, the victim probably never knew the Amtrak train was about to occupy the crossing. All she probably saw and heard was the noise of the locomotive on the standing train.
The FRA report also says that a daily school day average of 72 school buses use the crossing.