(Post Falls, Idaho – September 16, 2012)
The 29-year-old driver of a pickup truck suffered undisclosed injuries Sunday morning at about 11:31 A.M. when his vehicle was struck and heavily damaged by a Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Spokane Street and UPRR tracks in Post Falls, ID.
Christopher R. Meagher was headed north in his 2000 Chevrolet Silverado when the westbound UP freight train struck the vehicle’s passenger side, knocking it and its occupant onto the northwest side of the railroad tracks.
The Spokane Street/UPRR crossing has no active protective systems like flashing lights, bells or gates, items railroad sources claim could eliminate 90% of such accidents, but instead uses the “Idashield” version of the standard, passive railroad crossbuck, incorporating both chevron-style side shields and stop signs on the “protection’s” pole. According to Federal Railroad Administration records, the crossing, which is near the Prairie Falls Golf Course, accommodates eight trains daily at a top speed of 40 mph and is crossed by an average of 600 highway vehicles daily. Sunday’s accident marked the fourth collision at the crossing as well as its fourth non-fatal injury. One person has been killed there as well.
Witnesses described the damaged pickup truck as “mangled” as it was towed away and Idaho State Patrol troopers investigated the accident.