(Keithville, Louisiana – July 15, 2012)
The dangerous, unguarded Union Pacific Railroad crossing of Vardaman Road in South Caddo Parish near Keithville, LA was the site of the third grade crossing accident in less than nine months Sunday afternoon when a Union Pacific freight train collided with an empty 18-wheeler, causing moderate injuries to the driver of the truck, which was hauling an empty saltwater tanker trailer. The rig was totally destroyed.
Casey D. Blakeney, 31, of Jacksonville TX, was taken to LSU Health Center in Shreveport, LA for treatment of his injuries, but not before Caddo Parish deputies issued the injured trucker a citation for “failure to yield at a railroad crossing.”
Unfortunately, the crossing of Vardaman Road and UPRR tracks has now produced five injuries through four accidents, mainly because the crossing has no automatic protective devices such as flashing lights, bells or gates, instead depending solely upon standard, passive railroad crossbuck and highway yield signs to let motorists know a train is coming. An average of 10 Union Pacific trains cross Vardaman Road daily at a top speed of 40 mph.