(Welsh, Louisiana – February 16, 2016)
A 69-year-old Iowa, LA woman was killed and her 43-year-old daughter seriously injured Tuesday morning at about 9:12 A.M. when their southbound 2006 Nissan Sentra was struck by a westbound freight train at the dangerous, deadly and unguarded BNSF Railway crossing of Oilfield Road (Louisiana Highway 1151) in Jefferson Davis Parish about 2 1/2 miles west of Welsh, LA.
Both the driver, Donna Daigle, and the passenger, Kami Daigle, were wearing their seat belts, and the driver stopped at the crossing, but “was then hit by the westbound train, causing the vehicle to rotate off of the track into a utility pole,” according to Louisiana State Police Sgt. James Anderson. According to Federal Railroad Administration records, there have been four previous accidents at the crossing that resulted in one fatality and four non-fatal injuries. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, these five collisions would not have happened. Both BNSF 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%
Kami Daigle was airlifted to Lafayette General Medical Center in Lafayette, LA for treatment of undisclosed injuries resultant from the crash.
Also according to those FRA records, the Oilfield Road BNSF crossing, on a former Southern Pacific Railroad rail line which was sold to BNSF in 1986 under terms of the Union Pacific merger authorization, is crossed daily by an average of 18 BNSF, UP and Amtrak trains at a top allowable speed of 70 mph.