(Lenawee County, Michigan – August 31, 2016)
A motorist and her female passenger were both taken by ambulance to area hospitals after their northbound Lincoln Continental was struck by a westbound Norfolk Southern train. The collision took place at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of NS railroad tracks and Palmer Highway in Ridgeway Township, Lenawee County, MI at about 2:00 P.M., EDT last Wednesday.
Neither the driver, who was transported to University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, MI, nor her passenger, who was taken to ProMedica Bixby Hospital in Adrian, MI, were identified by law enforcement officers responding to the crash.
Lonnie Huhman of The Lenawee Daily Telegram reported that “The crossing does not have a crossing gate (nor flashing lights either, even though a motorist was killed by a train there two dozen years ago), but a stop sign posted there was destroyed during the accident.” It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both Norfolk Southern 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 accidents by as much as 96%.
According to Federal Railroad Administration records, 18 NS freight trains travel across the crossing daily at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph.