(Arlington, Texas – July 8, 2012)
After suffering in a virtual unresponsive state for nine days, a Kennedale, TX truck driver succumbed early Sunday morning at Fort Worth, TX John Peter Smith Hospital from massive injuries he received when Amtrak’s southbound “Texas Eagle” passenger train struck his 18-wheeler loaded with pallets of sod at a dangerous, unguarded crossing in far west Arlington, TX on June 29.
Raan Hunter, 32, who, with his wife, Megan, were raising family of six children, ages 11 to 17, had the tractor of his rig split from the trailer and carried west down the track over 300 feet, wedged beneath the locomotive with the victim still inside. He was taken to the JPS Hospital in Fort Worth, TX, for treatment of a severe head injury, a broken left leg, lacerated liver, broken ribs and a broken sternum as well as internal injuries and bruises.
The private road entering the Howell Farms facility has no automatic protective systems such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates, rather relying upon passive railroad crossbuck and stop signs to “warn” motorists of oncoming trains. Meanwhile, witnesses said they heard no sounding of a locomotive horn prior to the collision, Union Pacific spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said “There is a whistle board marker before the crossing, which is a sign for the train to blow its whistle.” Repeated media attempts to reach Amtrak for their side of the story resulted in a number of unreturned phone calls.