(Elkton, South Dakota – December 5, 2018)
A 41-year-old local woman was seriously injured about 3:10 P.M., CST Wednesday afternoon, when her Jeep was struck a Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern RR freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of RCP&E rails and Cornell Avenue in Elkton, SD.
Silveria Felix-Molina was transported to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD for treatment of undisclosed, crash-caused injuries. She was headed south in her 2010 Jeep Patriot when her vehicle was struck and totaled by the eastbound train. The train was one of five freight trains that traverse the crossing daily at maximum allowable speeds as high as 45 mph. Despite the high-speed and multiple daily trains, the crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The addition of lights and gates would almost surely have prevented this collision. Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern RR and Operation Lifesaver both 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%.
In addition to Ms. Felix-Molina’s injury, two other non-fatal injuries have previously occurred at the Cornell Avenue crossing.
The RCP&E is one of over 120 railroads owned or leased and operated by the massive Darien, CT-headquartered Genesee & Wyoming short and regional railroad conglomerate. Meanwhile, the RCP&E, headquartered in Rapid City, SD, operates nearly 700 miles of track across four states.