(Farwell, Texas – July 9, 2014)
The 59-year-old driver of a 2004 Dodge Ram was killed Wednesday morning at about 10:15 A.M. when his truck was struck by an eastbound BNSF freight train.
Ramiro Ruiz Nicolas was driving south on Parmer County, TX County Road 6 (also known as CR 0238) as he neared the adjacent intersections of BNSF tracks and U.S. Highway 70/84. The highway closely parallels BNSF tracks and leaves very little vehicle storage room between the rails and the highway. Yet, the single track line, which carries a daily average of 16 BNSF freight trains at a maximum allowable speed of 55 mph, and its crossing by CR 6 is dangerous and unguarded.
The crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, which can warn motorists, such as Mr. Ramiro of an oncoming train. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this tragedy. Both BNSF and Operation Lifesaver know 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%
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Sandra Clayton.