(Green Pond, South Carolina – October 20, 2017)
A 27-year-old Walterboro, SC man whose name has yet to be released died in a horrendous collision between his 2007 Ford Crown Victoria and an Amtrak train at the dangerous and unguarded private crossing of Wiess Lane and CSX railroad tracks. The crossing is near the Colleton County community of Green Pond, SC. The collision took place about 9:28 A.M., EDT Friday morning.
The crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, even though a daily average of 20 CSX freight and Amtrak passenger trains barrel across the road/rail intersection at a maximum allowable speed of 79 mph. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Amtrak, CSX, 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%.
The car erupted into flames upon impact and was carried by the train’s locomotive at least 220 feet north of the crossing
The victim driver was partially ejected but still trapped within the wreckage of the massively damaged automobile, and firefighters who arrived several minutes later had to first extinguish the flames before they could remove the driver using Holmatro rescue tools. The Colleton County Coroner’s Office determined that the man appeared to have died from multiple traumatic injuries before the flames consumed his vehicle.