(Gilcrest, Colorado – April 3, 2019)
Two men died Wednesday morning about 8:19 AM, MDT, when the semi-truck they were operating was struck by a Union Pacific freight train. The collision occurred near Gilcrest in Weld County, CO at the dangerous, deadly and unguarded crossing of County Road 38.
Investigators from the Colorado Highway Patrol said the victims included the driver, 53 year old Carlos Garcia of Denver, CO, and his passenger, 33-year-old Coronado Christopher of Commerce City, CO.
The semi was hauling a load of windows. The train pushed the semi’s cab down Union Pacific tracks. When the train eventually came to a stop the still-impaled cab erupted into flames.
The crossing of Weld CR 38 and UPRR tracks is notorious, as it has now been the site of four fatalities and two non-fatal injuries suffered in four collisions there. Records indicate on average ten trains traverse the crossing daily at an average speed of 60 mph. Yet, the crossing, which had its second most recent crash on March 15 of last year, is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates.
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%.
The position of the sun at that time in the morning could also have been a contributing factor to the tragedy.