(Justin, Texas – February 5, 2016)
A co-worker riding in the passenger side seat of an empty 18-wheeler rock-hauler died after arriving at the Denton, TX Presbyterian Hospital Friday afternoon after the eastbound truck was hit by a northbound BNSF at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Countryside Lane and BNSF tracks near the Denton County community of Justin, TX about 12:40 P.M., CST. Neither the driver nor his passenger was identified by name.
The driver was hospitalized in serious condition at the same Denton trauma center following the tragic accident at a crossing where there had been a previous accident and, according to Federal Railroad Administration-housed information, a daily average of 38 BNSF freight trains operate through the corridor at a maximum allowable speed of 55 mph. Despite this history, the crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this tragedy 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%
“For an as yet undetermined reason, the driver of the truck did not see the train approaching from the south and pulled onto the railroad tracks,” Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sgt Lonnie Haschel told WFAA-TV Reporter Marjorie Owens.