(Findlay, Ohio – September 25, 2013)
Tuesday afternoon at about 2:28 P.M., a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was hit, became airborne, struck a railroad crossing sign and a utility pole, and landed upside down, killing the passenger and seriously injuring the driver. The truck was hit at a railroad crossing where the northeast quadrant of the railroad grade crossing of CSX rails and Jackson Township Road 168 south of Findlay, OH has buildings and trees obscuring the sight distance triangle that gives westbound motorists’ the capability to see oncoming southbound trains.
William Craig, 23, of Kenton, OH was pronounced dead at the scene by EMT personnel responding to the tragedy when the small truck he was a passenger in was struck by a train that appeared behind a farm house, barn, outbuildings and large grove of trees.
The driver, Joshua Todd, 23, also of Kenton, OH, was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, OH, where he was admitted in undisclosed condition.
It is virtually impossible to see an oncoming southbound train as a driver approaches from the east due to the obscuring situation. Yet, CSX and governmental officials have never seen fit to equip the crossing, which now has only standard, passive railroad cross-buck signs, the likes of which are incapable of giving motorists warning that a train is coming.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both CSX and Operation Lifesaver know 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 can gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
The accident was being investigated by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.