(St. Clair Township, Ohio – August 7, 2011)
An elderly couple, attempting to drive across CSX Railroad tracks at a dangerous, unguarded crossing equipped solely with passive railroad crossbuck signs, were struck and injured by a CSX freight train in St. Clair Twp. of Butler County, OH about 6:20 P.M. Sunday evening.
The 90-year-old driver said he could not see the oncoming train until it was too late, and the train hit the passenger’s side, injuring the driver’s 92-year-old wife and trapping her inside the wrecked vehicle when it was spun around by the impact. St. Clair Fire Chief Terry White, whose emergency forces extricated the female victim, said that the train’s estimated speed at impact was 28 to 30 mph.
“This is probably the only crossing in the area without a crossing gate,” observed White, who failed to mention the lack of any electronic protective systems whatsoever at the Mergenthaler Road crossing of CSX tracks, as well as heavy brush and tree growth enshrouding the crossing’s approach sight distance.
Nearby resident and witness Linda Lloyd said the condition of the crossing surface is so bad that “most people bust their tires going over these tracks.” The injured wife was transported to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, OH for treatment, while the husband was treated at the scene.