(Chillicothe, Ohio – August 18, 2016)
A 62-year-old Pomeroy, OH semi-trailer dump truck driver was seriously injured at about 4:00 P.M., EDT Thursday afternoon when he was struck by a Norfolk Southern intermodal freight train. The collision took place at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of NS railroad tracks and the heavily-used private industrial road that accesses the Three Locks Gravel Co. just off Three Locks Road just south of Chillicothe, OH.
The driver, Marty Chasteen, first had to be cut out of the wreckage by Scioto Township Fire and Rescue personnel, and then transported to the parking lot of the Open Door Church before a helicopter could land, load and carry him to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, OH. He was admitted for treatment of serious injuries from the collision.
The double tracked NS main line accommodates up to three dozen trains at speeds as high as 65 mph, yet the crossing lacks any active warning devices such as flashing lights and crossing gates. At least two deaths have been suffered by motorists at unguarded private crossings in this same NS Ross County corridor in the past decade.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern and Operation Lifesaver know that 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%.