(Eddy, Texas – November 26, 2014)
Barely 24 hours and a few miles down Union Pacific Railroad tracks after a driver had been killed at a dangerous and unguarded crossing in Williamson County, TX, another Lone Star State motorist barely survived a collision with a UPRR freight train at the intersection of UP tracks and Cemetery Road in Eddy, TX in Falls County at about 1:45 P.M., CST Wednesday afternoon.
Herbert Booth, 72, of Rockport, TX was extricated from his 2011 Dodge pickup, which was towing a trailer loaded with a four-wheeler and 10 hunting dogs, when the train hit the passenger’s side of his truck and carried it some 600 yards down the track.
The victim was still conscious and communicative even though his injuries were quite serious. He was airlifted to Scott & White Hospital in Temple, TX, where he remained in serious condition Thursday.
It is likely that the motorist never saw or heard the train due to the fact that the entrance road to the Eddy Cemetery is a private crossing and Federal Railroad Administration rules do not require locomotive engineers to sound their trains’ horns as they approach private crossings. Also, the crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, even though the FRA says that a daily average of 14 trains traverse the crossing daily at top allowable speeds of 60 mph,
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%.
One of the hunting dogs died from the collision and another was injured, but the other eight survived without injuries. Falls County Animal Control authorities took the dogs to a care center where they could be fed and housed until retrieved by the victim or his family.