(Greenville, South Carolina – April 15, 2021)
A local trucker driving a tractor trailer was taken to a nearby hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries Thursday night after his tractor was struck by a CSX freight train. The collision occurred at approximately 8:10 pm at a dangerous, unguarded crossing near the roadway intersection of Donkle Road and Rutherford Road in Greenville County.
According to Piedmont Park Fire Chief Tom McCarty, the tractor trailer caught fire and was later put out by first responders. Fortunately, the trailer was empty at the time of the crash. There were also no reports of injuries to the CSX train crew.
CSX submitted records reveal that on average four trains traverse this crossing at a typical speed of 25 mph. The posted highway speed at this crossing is 35 mph with a daily traffic count of over 600 vehicles.
Despite this data and one prior collision, the CSX railroad crossing where this collision occurred was not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. A motorist’s view down the tracks is also obstructed by vegetation and buildings close to the tracks.
The installation of lights and gates would have almost certainly prevented this collision. 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 collisions by as much as 96%.