(Mulberry, Indiana—July 19, 2022)
A 7-year-old girl was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital and ambulances took an 11-year-old boy to a Layette hospital after being struck by a train on Tuesday, July 19 around 3:45 p.m. The two were injured when a train hit the pickup truck, they were traveling southbound. Deputies were called to the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks at County Road 750W south of West Gas Line Road. Police are still investigating after preliminary research identified Lora Elston, 65, as the driver of a blue 2006 Ford pickup truck that was hit at the crossing.
The railroad crossing identified by the Federal Railroad Administration as #474771M is a highway crossing that meets a rural road and is not signaled other than cross bucks and stop signs. There are no gate arms or flashing lights to prevent entry and increase the safety of the crossing. On average, four trains go through daily traveling about 40 to 49 miles per hour.
This County Road 750W & West Gas Line Road crossing has been the site of one prior collision. Yet, there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, at this crossing. It is very likely that the addition of lights and gates could have prevented this tragedy. Norfolk Southern Railway and Operation Lifesaver 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 collisions by as much as 96%.
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating.