(Tulsa, Oklahoma – January 28, 2014)
A female Tulsa, OK pedestrian awaited the passage of one train near the intersection of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and Elwood Street in downtown Tulsa near the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office at about 1:15 P.M. Tuesday, and then walked into the path of a second train traveling in the opposite direction. Th victim, Jana L. Lawrence, 46, said to be a homeless person, was walking with at least one other person and was killed when struck a glancing blow from the locomotive of the second train.
“It appears that there were two different trains in the area – one going eastbound and one going westbound,” explained Tulsa Police Officer Steve Odom. “It was more like she was trying to go across the tracks and the train made contact with her,” he continued, adding that the other person crossed the tracks without being hit by the train.
The victim and her companion were both walking south toward Tulsa’s BOK Center when the westbound train, which may have been hidden from their view by the eastbound train, struck her, killing her instantly.
Although the BNSF/Elwood Street intersection is fully equipped with gates and lights, the women may have thought they were still operating due to the passage of the eastbound train. Federal Railroad Administration records indicate that a daily average of 60 trains operate across the crossing daily at a speed of 20 mph. FRA records also indicate that the woman’s death was the third to occur at the crossing, which has now experienced at least 13 accidents, killing three and non-fatally injuring another five people. FRA records do not necessarily reflect all pedestrian deaths at crossings or elsewhere.
“There’s no indication that there was anything foul that was done,” concluded Officer Odom, “just a tragic accident.”