(Paragould, Arkansas – June 8, 2011)
A Union Pacific Railroad employee was injured, but only fate prevented what could have been a tragedy. Shortly after 8:00 A.M. Wednesday morning a UPRR freight train struck a semi-trailer truck at an unguarded, dangerous crossing three miles north of Paragould, AR.
Dean Brown, the trucker, had just dropped off 27,000 pounds of steel plates at the Paragould Steel Yard, and was proceeding north on Arkansas Highway 49 when he made a turn to the east and attempted to traverse a crossing which lacks gates, lights or any electronic warning of approaching trains.
Brown said he was blinded by the sun and never saw the oncoming train until it impacted his trailer. The UPRR freight train pushed the empty trailer about 200 feet beyond the crossing. The train’s conductor received undetermined injuries, but had the truck still been loaded with the heavy steel plates, the results could have been catastrophic.
Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Bruce Drope commented that “this particular crossing is very dangerous because the approach to the tracks from Highway 49 is very short.” A sign for vehicles preparing to enter Highway 49 warns truckers that, at the highway stop sign, there is only 45’ of clearance from the sign to the railroad tracks.