(Nashville, Tennessee – September 23, 2014)
A 50-year-old motorcycle driver from Adamsville, TN was killed at the non-gated crossing of Tennessee Highway 70/Lebanon Pike/Hermitage Avenue and Nashville & Eastern Railroad tracks just southeast of downtown Nashville, TN at about 11:45 A.M. Tuesday morning when he tried to stop for a single locomotive, laid his cycle down, and slid into the oncoming locomotive.
Phillip McLemore was still alive when transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, but died shortly after his arrival. The multilane street/short line railroad intersection is equipped with overhead flashing light signals, but has no gates to complete the ultimate grade crossing protective package. It was speculated that with the sun at maximum height and the noise of the cycle’s engine , plus the fact that an 18-wheeler was blocking the victim’s view of the tracks on which the locomotive was operating, may have been factors that led to the tragedy.
“We heard an engine (railroad locomotive) throttle up, like it was accelerating, so we both looked down at the tracks to see what was going on and I saw a motorcycle approaching at a high rate of speed slam on his brakes,” witness Steven Price told Nashville News Channel 5. “By that point, we couldn’t see him because of the train, but we heard the impact of his motorcycle hitting the side of the train.”
An average of four N&E trains cross the intersection daily at maximum speeds of 15 mph, according to Federal Railroad Administration documentation. The privately-owned, 110-mile short line comprised of former CSX track is also a major carrier of Nashville’s “Music Star” heavy rail commuter rail passenger service, transporting a quarter of a million passengers aboard trains traveling on its rails last year.