(Iola, Texas – October 1, 2014)
The lack of any form of active crossing protective devices at a railroad crossing in the small east central Texas of Iola had plenty to do with an accident which brought injury to a local female motorist Wednesday when she tried to cross BNSF railroad tracks at the dangerous, unguarded, and elevated crossing of Grimes County Road 122.
Iola resident, Hyla Raysor-Shivers, 46, was eastbound in her Dodge Ram pickup truck on the barely-two-lane, questionably-surfaced road when she failed to see an approaching BNSF freight train, one of a daily average of seven trains which cross there at a top speed of 40 mph.
The victim had to be extricated by firefighters from the Iola Volunteer Fire Dept., and then flown by helicopter to the St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, TX for treatment of undisclosed injuries.
The crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates which could warn drivers of a train’s approach. It is virtually certain that if equipped with lights and gates this accident would not have happened. Both BNSF and Operation Lifesaver all 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%. According to Federal Railroad Administration records, Wednesday’s mid-day collision was the third to occur at the crossing.
Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol were investigating the accident.