(Langdon, Kansas – October 6, 2012)
Although post-accident reports said that the driver of a 1995 Dodge tried to beat the train, it was probably a situation of panic and reaction Saturday evening at about 7:00 P.M. when an eastbound Union Pacific freight train struck the southbound vehicle carrying three people at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of UPRR tracks and Avery Road on the east edge of Langdon, KS.
Large trees block the motorist’s line of sight to the northwest, thus creating a situation where the driver must almost come to a complete stop to see a train from the west at the crossing, which has severe 35 degree inclined approaches as Avery Road crosses the tracks less than 100 feet from its intersection with Kansas Highway 61, which parallels the railroad tracks. Even though 10 Union Pacific trains cross Avery Road daily at speeds as high as 70 mph, “protection” at the crossing consists of a pair of standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs. Any flashing lights, bells or crossing gates, which industry sources claim would halt 90% of train/highway vehicular accidents, are completely missing.
The driver, Ben Cody Tucker, 20, of St. John, KS was uninjured, but his two passengers, Perla P. Desantiago-Rodriguez, 20, and Jonathan Paul Whitecloud Hyson, 20, of Langdon, who were on the side of the car struck by the train, were both injured and were transported to Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. Both the injured were wearing their seat belts, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol, whose trooper was assisted by the Reno County Sheriff’s Office in the accident investigation.