Howard Parker, a 43 year old man of Yukon, OK, lost his life driving a dump truck across an unguarded crossing near Union City. The dump truck was hauling concrete back to a worksite when the accident occurred.
The investigation is currently underway, but evidence from the scene indicates that Parker didn’t stop. The accident occurred at an unguarded crossing with no warning devices other than a passive crossbuck sign. This is the second fatal crossing accident at an unguarded railroad crossing in 30 days in Canadian County, OK.
One would hope that this occurrence would lead local officials and the railroad company to act. Unfortunately, it does not appear that action is taking place. The local police chief has even dismissed the relevancy of crossing equipment, saying that “It doesn’t matter if there is just a sign, flashing lights, or a gate.”
One would hope to hear more informed words from an official with the potential to bring about change at a crossing with two fatalities in a month’s span of time. But instead of hearing the actual statistics and data, we hear a dismissive opinion. Words are cheap when lives are being lost – when protective equipment has been shown to reduce crossing deaths by up to 100% compared to crossbucks, it is a strange thing indeed to hear an official so dismissive of safety.