(Douglasville, Georgia – January 14, 2013)
Whether or not pressure brought upon Georgia DOT and Norfolk Southern Railway officials had anything to do with it, a meeting has been scheduled for officials from the railroad, state and community to discuss the situation at the Broad Street/Mozely Road/NS RY intersection in Douglasville, GA after Atlanta, GA CBS affiliate WGCL-TV, Channel 46’s “Pothole Patrol” investigatory program claimed the railroad was refusing to fix the crossing after a serious car/train collision, one of over 20 recorded at the crossing due to its surfacing situation.
“Pothole Patrol” host Harry Samler had reported last week that “The crossing may meet railroad specifications, but the drop off is so steep and so easy to misjudge that even Douglasville’s police chief agrees that something must be done,” after the second incident in the past year nearly got motorist Narvis Penson killed when her maroon Ford Taurus became entrapped by the crossing’s drop off.
The victim called the incident “an awful experience,” adding that “I thank God that I’m living and I’m here to tell it.”
“I was just going across the track as I always do to go across on that side and my car got struck on the track,” recalled Ms. Penson. “I got stuck and I couldn’t move. I was very scared. I was hoping I could get out. I was trying to get off the tracks because all I could see was the train lights.”
Bystanders helped the driver out of her car and then restrained her from trying to retrieve her purse as the train bore down upon the stranded vehicle, demolishing it and carrying the wreckage a quarter mile down the tracks.
GDOT had already striped the edges of the pavement last February in hopes of guiding unsuspecting motorists away from the hazardous drop off.
“We are meeting with the railroad and the city next week to discuss temporary solutions,” said Georgia Dept. of Transportation Spokesman Mark McKinnon. “The problem is on railroad right-of-way so GDOT cannot make improvements on their property, but our meeting will help them to understand the scope of the problem and to explore solutions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay stated that “We are concerned and so we are going to be meeting with Douglasville city officials and representatives from GDOT. We’re willing – if they want to make some changes – to participate in that.”