(West Nyack, New York – December 5, 2013)
The driver of an 18-wheeler auto rack semi-trailer truck loaded with new vehicles was critically injured Thursday at about 11:30 A.M. when his vehicle was struck and carried down the track nearly 400 yards by a CSX freight train at the dangerous, unguarded, seriously-skewed crossing of Pineview Road and CSX railroad tracks near West Nyack, NW.
Esad Sadikovic, 55, of Jacksonville, FL was attempting to cross the S-curved crossing, which has had a history of train/vehicle accidents, when the train collided with the auto carrier, completely destroying two of the autos on board and damaging three other new autos and a motorcycle that were on the trailer. The victim was ejected from the truck’s tractor and was found by emergency responders to be conscious and moving, but incoherent, at the scene. He was taken first to Nyack Hospital, but was then transferred to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY for treatment of multiple fractures, including a cracked pelvis.
The collision, which occurred at a crossing equipped only with passive signage indicating the presence of a railroad track, but with no capability to protect motorists from death or injury as one equipped with flashing lights, bells and operating crossing gates would be better able to do, marked the eighth collision at the crossing and the third injury resultant from those accidents. The fact that Pineview Road crosses the double tracks in an S-shaped pattern makes for extremely difficult sight distances for drivers, especially those of 18-wheelers.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both CSX and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.
The crash also resulted in the ignition of a fire as an estimated 75 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled and began burning, necessitating the West Nyack Fire Dept. to extinguish the flames and the Rockland County HazMat team to remediate the fuel spill.
The train reportedly was carrying carloads of flammable liquids, especially crude oil, a commodity which has been involved in several high-profile rail tragedies recently.
Officers of the Clarkstown Police Dept. were being “assisted” by CSX Police in investigating the accident, which had to be reported by a resident living near the tracks calling 9-11.
The auto carrier was owned by EKO Transport of Jacksonville, FL.