(Brownsville, Tennessee – January 7, 2016)
A non-gated CSX railroad crossing, which carries only about 100 feet of connector road across single CSX tracks between two Brownsville, TN thoroughfares, became the site of the fifth collision between CSX trains and motor vehicles at about 11:59 A.M., CST Thursday morning when one of the seven daily trains that cross there at a maximum speed of 49 mph struck a Jackson, TN TV station’s van as one of its reporters was coming from reporting on a local story.
Reporter Victor Williams was in Brownsville on assignment from WBBJ-TV, 7 Eyewitness News when he approached the crossing. The crossingis equipped with mast-mounted flashing light signals which Maranda Fari of The Jackson Sun said “It is unknown if Williams was distracted or if the lights on the track were working at the time of the accident,” adding that There are no arms (gates) on the railroad crossing.”
The lack of crossing gates at the crossing, at which there have now been five accidents, resulting in two deaths and three non-fatal injuries, including Thursday’s was almost certainly a factor in the collision. It is virtually certain that if this crossing had automatic gates, this collision would not have occurred. Both CSX and Operation Lifesaver know that the installation of gates to flashing light only crossing can reduce accidents by two-thirds.
Williams was taken by ambulance to Jackson-Madison General Hospital in Brownsville, where West Tennessee Health Care CEO said he was still undergoing emergency care for his injuries at 2:00 P.M.