(Mathis, Texas –January 26, 2019)
Three young children were killed, and their father was seriously injured after their northbound Mitsubishi sedan was struck and demolished by a westbound Union Pacific freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded railroad crossing of CR 1136, just south of Mathis, TX about 10:35 AM, CST Saturday morning. The four family members were on a fishing trip and headed for Mathis.
Believed to all be members of a Beeville, TX family, the deceased included Adam Posada 12, and Jacob Posada, 8. The driver, a 30-year-old male identified as the deceased children’s father, was taken by ambulance to Christus Spohr Shoreline Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX. The 5-year-old girl, Aubrey Galle, was airlifted to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, also in Corpus Christi, where she passed away from her injuries Sunday evening.
San Patricio County Road 1136 approaches Union Pacific track through heavily foliaged roadway in each direction. The crossing accommodates an average of 10 to 12 freight trains that traverse the crossing at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph. However, it is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates.
Texas DPS spokesman Sgt. Nathan Brandley pointed out to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that the crossing did not have gates to alert drivers of a passing train. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with active warning devices, such as lights and gates, this collision would not have occurred. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver all 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 injury collision preceded Saturday’s tragedy by several years.
Among the friends and relatives gathering at the crossing to grieve were Randi and Jacob Maldonado, who told KIII-TV that “We have our moments when we are okay, and then we have our moments where we are still in shock.
Beeville ISD Superintendent Marc Puig said, in a statement, that “Nothing can prepare us for such a loss.”
The tragedy was investigated by Texas DPS troopers and San Patricio County Sheriff’s officers.