(Rockdale, Texas – April 8, 2015)
A 65-year-old Gainesville, TX semi-trailer-truck driver driving a rig hauling rocks was killed Wednesday night at about 9:45 P.M. when he turned off Texas Highway 79 and onto a private road, where he and his truck immediately encountered a dangerous and unguarded railroad crossing and were struck by a Union Pacific freight train. The train is one of 14 which cross there daily at a top allowable speed of 60 mph.
Danny Camp died instantly in the collision, a tragedy which brought grief to his family of two children and five grandchildren.
The crossing was just west of Rockdale, between there and Thorndale, TX in Milam County, and was not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. It is also unclear if the train blew its horn for the crossing, as this crossing is designated as a “private crossing.”
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%.