(Canadian County, Oklahoma – July 30, 2021)
A 22-year-old local man was killed last weekend when his dump truck was struck by a Union Pacific freight train at a dangerous, unguarded crossing in Canadian County, Oklahoma. The 2001 Freightliner dump truck was traveling east on 234th Street NW when he stopped for the unguarded Union Pacific railroad crossing. After stopping, he attempted to proceed across the tracks, but clearly did not see or hear the oncoming freight train. At this point, it is unclear whether the train properly blew the horn prior to impact. Crops may have also contributed to the driver’s inability to see the train until it was too late to avoid the collision.
The driver, Hugo J. Barrera of Warr Acres was ejected upon impact with the freight train. He was transported to Mercy Hospital in Kingfisher where he succumbed to his injuries.
The tragedy marks the second vehicle/train collision to occur at this crossing. The crossing accommodates an average of eight freight trains daily at typical speeds of 49 miles per hour. It is virtually certain that if Union Pacific would have installed lights and gates, this collision could have been prevented. Union Pacific 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 collisions by as much as 96%.