(Gardner, Kansas – April 1, 2014)
A 52-year-old man from Yankton, SD, but who was believed to be living locally in Gardner, KS was struck and killed Tuesday evening at about 6:00 P.M. by a westbound BNSF freight train. The train was one of a daily average of 82 trains that traverse the multi-tracked Moonlight Road/BNSF intersection at top allowable speeds of 70 mph on the east edge the Johnson County, KS. The city of Gardner is recently home to a new, large BNSF intermodal terminal and yard just beyond the western Kansas City metropolitan area.
According to witness accounts, William Gainey had been waiting for the passage of one train in the opposite direction before he began crossing and was hit by a second train. Allegedly, the victim may have momentarily stopped, surprised by the second train. The Moonlight Road crossing signals and gates were still activated, but there are no pedestrian signals or gates at the crossing.
Trains are not required to sound their horns, by agreement, as they approach the Moonlight Road crossing, even though it is not part of a Federal Railroad Administration-permitted “Quiet Zone”, and that has some residents worried. Heather Hollingshead told KCTV Channel 5 Reporter Jeanene Kiesling that it might be time to revisit he silent situation since “Trains go through here every 10 minutes now.”
The exact speed of the train was not provided, but the train took the better part of a mile to come to a halt, and then blocked the heavily-used Moonlight Road crossing for several hours afterward while local and railroad authorities conducted their investigation into the tragedy.
According to internet sources, the victim was just a week shy of his wedding anniversary.