(Roanoke County, Virginia – February 1, 2016)
One of two men operating an Appalachian Power flatbed truck was killed and the second was seriously injured after the truck was struck at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Spring Hollow Access Road in Roanoke County, VA, near Salem, VA. Their truck was struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train consisting of three locomotives and 14 cars late Monday morning about 11:50 A.M., EST.
Dead at the scene was William Lineberry, 56, of Bluefield, WV, while Johnny Collins, 22, of Abingdon, VA, was taken to Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries described as “serious”.
The NS/Spring Hollow Access Road intersection has neither crossing gates nor flashing lights. Further, there was no indication as to whether or not any advance horn warning was ever given. FRA statistical records also say that a daily average of 18 trains cross the intersection at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this tragedy would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern 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%
The Salem Police Dept. was conducting the investigation into Monday’s tragedy.