(Bucyrus, Ohio — April 14-16, 2012)
The passenger and the pet dog were both killed instantly Saturday afternoon about 3:18 P.M., and the driver succumbed to her injuries Monday after the car the three were riding in was struck and heavily damaged by a Norfolk Southern freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of NS railroad tracks and Hieber Road just north of Bucyrus, OH.
Dana A. Foght, 46, a passenger in a westbound 2000 Chevrolet Malibu driven by June L. Dwyer, 53, both of Nevada, OH, died along with the couple’s dog when their car was hit on the passenger side by a 3,443-foot long southbound Norfolk Southern train.
Even though an average of 29 trains daily operate over the Hieber Road crossing at speeds as high as 60 mph, the crossing is "protected" only by standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs and has no automatic protection such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates. In fact, The Bucyrus Telegraph reported that "There are neither lights nor warning gates at approximately 80 percent of all public railroad crossings nationwide, according to the Federal Railroad Administration."
The motorist apparently saw the approaching train too late to stop, and accelerated across the tracks as the only solution to the dilemma, but to no avail. Dyer was transported to Grant Hospital in Columbus, OH by Lifestar Ambulance where she was admitted in critical condition, but died two days later of her injuries, while Foght was pronounced dead at the scene by Crawford County Assistant Coroner Grant Hope at about 4:00 P.M. Saturday.
Crawford County Sheriff Ron Shawber and four of his deputies responded to the tragedy as did the Ohio Highway Patrol, the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Dept. and Norfolk Southern Railway officials. As if to add to speculation, Scott Kent of the CCSO said a toxicology screen was ordered for Dyer.