(Oakdale, California – September 17, 2011)
A railroad maintenance of way inspection vehicle, carrying two Sierra Northern Railway employees, collided with a Dodge Ram pickup truck at the crossing of Sierra Northern tracks and Wamble Road near Oakdale, CA Saturday afternoon about 4:00 P.M.
Donald Pomplum, 65, of San Ramon, CA and Olga Grinsberg, 67, of Hayward, CA were both injured and transported to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, CA.
The driver of the pickup, William Phillips, 74, of Modesto, CA, saw the rail-mounted vehicle approaching and turned his truck to avoid it, but was still struck by the inspection vehicle. The California Highway Patrol troopers who investigated the accident said the rail-mounted vehicle is too small to activate crossing signals. The Wamble Road/SN Railway crossing is equipped with lights and gates, but they never were triggered.
NOTE: Rail-mounted vehicles, including hi-rail equipment, which have no capability to activate crossing signals, have NO right-of-way at road, street and highway crossings, whether equipped with electronic protection (lights, bells or gates) or not. They MUST stop and clear all highway traffic before proceeding across the crossing.