(Eaton, Ohio – January 8, 2016)
A 40-year-old Preble County Sheriff’s Department captain suffered head injuries at about 4:20 P.M., EST Friday afternoon when a semi-trailer truck he was trying to direct out of harm’s way at the U.S. Highway 35 crossing near Eaton, OH was struck by a Norfolk Southern train approaching at about 30 mph. The train hit the truck and sent it careening into the officer’s police cruiser and then struck him.
Captain Brad Moore was, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jerod Keyes, “frantically waving the big rig to continue across railroad tracks as the crossing gates were coming down and the train was approaching,” but “the semi hesitates, becomes stuck on the tracks and the crossing arms begin to come down,” he told a WHIO-TV reporter. “For some reason, the truck driver hesitated,” Sgt. Keyes added. “Maybe he thought he was clear.” The 18-wheeler operator was identified as Richard Palmer, 73, of Indianapolis, IN, and was reportedly uninjured in the collision.
Capt. Moore was one of two Preble County Sheriff’s Office personnel who were working an unrelated crash on Highway 35, and was standing on the roadway directing traffic around the scene.
The train struck the trailer, which in turn hit the victim. Although the NS/US Highway 35, single-track crossing is fully signalized with gates and lights, it crosses Highway 5 at an extreme angle, and sits amid an oddly configured confluence of US 35 and Miller-Williams Road only a few feet south from the tracks and with the entrance of West Lexington Road barely a block to the north, thus engineering a virtual motorists’ nightmare alley.
The U.S. 35/NS crossing, which, according to information on the Federal Railroad Administration’s website, accommodates a daily average of 30 freight trains that operate at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph, has now been the site of six train/vehice collision.
Captain Moore was first transported to Preble County Medical Center in Eaton before being transferred to the Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, OH for more extensive treatment of his head injuries, which were described as “non life-threatening”.