(Gum Springs, Arkansas – May 25, 2023)
Two kids were killed and another kid and adult were seriously injured yesterday after their vehicle was violently struck by a freight train. The collision occurred at about 1:45 pm at the unguarded Union Pacific railroad crossing near the roadway intersection of Richwoods Road and Fisher Loop.
The driver of the vehicle, Chad Fryar, was life-flighted to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. Two of the kids in the vehicle were pronounced deceased at the scene. The third child was also life-flighted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
According to Union Pacific submitted records, twenty-seven trains travel through this crossing daily. The typical train speed at this crossing is 70 mph. There has also been at least one prior collision at the crossing. Despite the frequent train movements over the crossing and high speeds, there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, at this crossing.
Both Union Pacific and Union Pacific’s created Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are effective at preventing tragedies such as this one at high-speed train crossings. It is virtually certain that the addition of lights and gates could have prevented this tragedy. 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 collisions by as much as 96%.