(Durham, North Carolina – April 23, 2018)
A crash between a westbound Amtrak train carrying 140 passengers and a Dodge Ram pickup truck that was stuck in traffic and entrapped by crossing gates that lowered ahead of and behind it left a Durham, NC father shook up and his two children hospitalized at Duke Hospital in Durham, NC Monday afternoon. The collision occurred at about 6:00 P.M., EDT at the Driver Street crossing of Norfolk Southern Rails.
Ananias Hyman, 38, .had his two-year-old daughter, Jace Hyman strapped into a child safety seat and his eight-year-old son, Jaden seated in the back with his toddler sister. When the Charlotte-bound Amtrak train struck the bed of the truck, it caused the vehicle to spin and remain upright at trackside. Jace was in stable condition at Duke Hospital while her older brother was in serious, later downgraded to critical, condition. Their shaken father was treated at the scene.
Durham police called the accident “avoidable”, a correct assessment as had the road traffic signals been better coordinated with each other, the tragic accident might never have happened. Four tracks, belonging to NS and CSX Railroad, which operates a parallel, separate crossing of Driver Street, carry a daily average of 27 NS, CSX and Amtrak trains across the lighted, gated, but questionably-coordinated crossing at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph.
The rail crossing website of the Federal Railroad Administration claimed there was coordination between the crossing and the adjacent street traffic signal, but obviously, there was not enough to prevent vehicular endangerment.
Monday evening’s accident marked the 11th collision to occur at the crossing, one of which resulted in a fatality on December 20, 2007.