(Sudan, Texas – April 8, 2013)
A 69-year-old Sudan, TX area farmer was killed late Monday morning about 11:40 A.M. when the farm tractor he was driving northbound on County Road 6500 was struck and demolished by a westbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of roadway and railway.
Carlos Mendez was pronounced dead at the scene by Lamb County officials as Texas Dept. of Public Safety Highway Patrol troopers investigated the tragedy.
Even though BNSF railroad tracks approach the CR 6500 crossing at an extremely acute angle as the tracks parallel U.S. Highway 84, making westbound trains extremely difficult to see by northbound traffic, the crossing is protected only by standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs instead of active flashing lights, bells or crossing gates, devices which railroad sources have long claimed could prevent as many as 90% or more of tragedies such as occurred Monday.
DPS Sgt. Bryan Witt said that investigators “did not know why Mendez’s tractor was on the track as the train passed.” Perhaps officers should have checked the previous paragraph for clues.