(Marlin, Texas – February 11, 2015)
A 55-year-old veteran Federal Express truck driver was killed just prior to 5:30 P.M., CST Wednesday when his 2014 Mercedes FedEx cargo van was virtually totaled as he collided with a northbound Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of UPRR railroad tracks and Falls County Road 116 near Marlin, TX.
Juan Carlos Casas of Waco, TX may never have seen the train as it struck the passenger side of his eastbound vehicle at the road/rail crossing which was not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The crossing is not equipped with any lights and gates even though it accommodates a daily average of 15 trains at a top allowable speed of 60 mph according to the Federal Railroad Administration. The fact that UPRR rails closely parallel Highway 6 along that corridor may have caused a distraction as well.
It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know that 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%.
Texas Dept. of Public Safety Highway Patrol troopers investigated the fatal collision.