(Pecos, Texas – August 5, 2016)
The driver of a southbound 1999 International truck tractor hauling a trailer died late Friday afternoon at about 5:35 P.M., CDT, when his rig collided with a Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Reeves County Road 409 and UPRR tracks five miles west of Pecos, TX.
The victim, Richard A. Licon, 37, was pronounced dead upon arrival at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa. The crossing accommodates 16 UP trains at maximum allowable speeds of 70 mph. According to Federal Railroad Administration records, a non-injury accident occurred almost exactly a year ago on August 1, 2015, at the same crossing.
Despite the prior collision, this crossing did not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn motorists of an oncoming train. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision and the four prior to it 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%.