(Perry County, Ohio – June 18, 2017)
An 85-year-old New Lexington, OH man was killed at about 3:30 P.M., EDT, Sunday, June 18 (Fathers’ Day) when his vehicle was struck by an eastbound Kanawha River Railroad freight train. The motorist was driving his vehicle south on Township Road 185, near State Route 37, in the Junction City, OH area when the collision occurred.
Pronounced dead after arrival at Fairfield Medical Center was Jarvie V. Johnson.
As numerous news media sources and the Ohio State Patrol pointed out, “there are no signals or gates at the crossing”. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Both Watco and Operation Lifesaver all 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%.
The dangerous and unguarded crossing of TR 185 and former Norfolk Southern railroad tracks are now leased and operated by the Watco short line conglomerate of Pittsburg, KS. According to Federal Railroad Administration-kept reports, four KNWA trains cross TR 185 daily at maximum allowable speeds of 40 mph. According to records, there have been two previous injuries at the crossing.