(Biloxi. Mississippi – September 28, 2016)
Two unidentified people were injured, but refused transport to or treatment at a local Biloxi, MS hospital, after their car was involved in the seventh accident to occur at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of Nixon Street and CSX railroad tracks Wednesday afternoon.
As WDAM-TV, Channel 7 Reporter Mike Lacy points out, “The crossing is one of several in the city with no warning lights or crossing guards (gates) to block traffic. In addition, witnesses to the crash say they did not hear a warning horn from the train.” He added that “Residents in the area say they are worried about the safety of the crossings.”
“He was crossing the track and the train hit him,” explained witness Natasha White. “He did not blow his horn and, as you can see, there’s no railing (crossing gate) and there’s no flashing lights, “ she charged, adding that “And this is not the only train tracks like that, and the city needs to do something about that. They need to be fixed.”
The CSX train, one of a daily average of 15 freight trains that roll over the Nixon Street crossing on an average day at a maximum allowable speed of 45 mph, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, clipped the rear of the ill-fated Mercedes. The railroad parallels the opposing directional lanes of Esters Avenue on both sides, and due to the proximity of the multi-lane major thoroughfare, neither side’s crossing approach allows any sizeable car, let alone a truck or bus, sufficient storage room between the 15 foot (from the nearest rail) required stopping distance line painted upon the pavement and the active Esters Avenue roadway.
When the crossing’s large accident record (yesterday’s crash brought the crossings statistics to seven collisions, two of which were fatalities, and four non-fatal injuries) is considered, the crossing is unsafe.
And while the train’s locomotive engineer and conductor were issuing an allegation that the driver “tried to beat the train”, eyewitnesses disagreed.
“We didn’t hear the train (horn), so I want them to actually start doing their jobs,” witness Telaysa Graves told Channel 7’s Lacy, who himself observed that “those who live nearby stress that something has to change.”