(Westville, Oklahoma – August 3, 2017)
An Oklahoma motorist on his way to work was killed Thursday, August 3 after his pickup truck was struck by a Kansas City Southern freight train. The collision occurred near the Adair County community of Westville, OK.
Tyler Eason, 27, was declared deceased at the scene at the KCS crossing of Cemetery Road (County Road 700). The collision was the third to occur at the humped, tree and underbrush-obscured road/rail intersection. The victim, who worked in Siloam Springs, AR, left behind a pregnant wife.
The crossing had been studied to be protected by lights and gates, but at the time of the collision it remained unprotected. The Adair County Commissioner in Westville told Fort Smith, AR TV Channels 40/29 that three other crossings in the community had been approved for upgrades, but even after traffic from a nearby ball field had increased the vehicular count, the Cemetery Road crossing was still turned down for gates and flashing lights.
A daily average of 20 KCS freight trains cross the single track road/rail intersection at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Both KCS 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%.