(Temple, Texas – June 16, 2014)
The 58-year-old driver of an 18-wheeler hauling an empty flatbed trailer was killed shortly after 11:00 A.M. Monday morning when his rig was struck on the right passenger side and heavily damaged by a Fort Worth, TX-bound Amtrak train carrying 170 passengers at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Union Pacific Railroad and East Avenue K in Temple, TX.
Randle Collier of Rogers, TX was pronounced dead at the scene after the collision, the third accident but first fatality to be suffered at the crossing, which was originally listed as a public crossing, but at some later time was re-designated as private. Regardless, the crossing completely lacks any form of active warning devices, such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this tragedy. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.
Police investigators could not determine whether the victim “came to a stop on the tracks, tried to beat the train, or just didn’t see the stop sign.” Satellite photos of the intersection show no stop sign whatsoever, and the FRA’s official grade crossing inventory lists only the cross-bucks and no presence of any stop sign at the crossing. KXXV-TV, Channel 25 reported that “neighbors in the area say the trains cross pretty slowly here,” a statement verified by FRA documentation which lists the top allowable speed for the 14 freight and two Amtrak trains that cross there daily as 25 mph.