(Amherst, Texas – July 31, 2023)
A Texas tractor trailer driver was killed after his vehicle was struck by a BNSF freight train at a dangerous, unguarded crossing on County Road 125, two miles west of Amherst, Texas. The force of the collision cause the train to derail numerous railcars, some carrying potentially hazardous material. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the driver as 25-year-iold Brent Michael Spahich of Borger, TX. According to reports, Spahich was being transported to a local hospital when he succumbed to his injuries.
The crossing where this collision occurred accommodates a daily average of eight freight trains at a typical speed of 55 mph. The BNSF railroad tracks that go through this crossing also intersect it at a skewed angle, making it difficult for motorists to accurately detect and react to oncoming high-speed trains.
Despite these hazardous characteristics, the crossing lacks active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is virtually certain that the addition of lights and gates could have prevented this tragedy. BNSF and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are very effective at preventing these types of tragedies. 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 collisions at a crossing without such devices by over 90%.
The Texas Department of Public Safety continues to investigate this collision.