(Roscoe, Pennsylvania – December 10, 2014)
A 25-year-old man with two children in the car was severely injured Wednesday night at about 8:00 P.M., EST, when he collided with a Norfolk Southern freight train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Vesta Street in Roscoe, PA.
Raymond Scott Houseman of Roscoe was traveling south on First Avenue, which parallels the NS tracks, and was attempting to make a right turn across the tracks, but his car was hit and carried about the length of a football field with the victim still inside. Local firefighters had to extricate him and the two children were later found at a nearby residence. How they got there was not disclosed.
Houseman was still coherent when rescuers reached him, and he was flown to a Pittsburgh, PA hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of his serious but undisclosed injuries.
The Vesta Street/NS intersection is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern 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%.
Three previous accidents occurring at the crossing had, miraculously, resulted only in property damage and no injuries. According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, a daily average of 16 trains cross there at a maximum allowable speed of 30 mph.