(Staunton, Virginia – March 12, 2018)
Two men who were in a Dodge Ram pickup truck have died following a collision between their truck and a train operated by the Buckingham Branch Railroad. The collision occurred at a dangerous and unguarded private crossing in Staunton, VA, about 2:30 P.M., EDT Monday afternoon.
Killed at the scene was Eugene Williams, 46, while Homer Moats, 53, died about 1:00 A.M. Tuesday morning at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville after having been airlifted there for treatment of his injuries.
The tragedy occurred at a crossing owned by CSX railroad but leased by the privately-owned, 275-mile long Buckingham Branch RR. There are neither gates nor lights at the crossing of a residential road that serves several Staunton homes. It is virtually certain that this collision would not have occurred if the crossing was equipped with active warning devices. Buckingham Branch RR, CSX 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%.
The train the collided with the victims is one of a daily average of five Buckingham Branch RR, CSX and Amtrak trains that cross there at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph.
The Buckingham Branch RR is the same railroad whose crossing near Crozet, VA was the scene of another fatality on January 31, when an Amtrak train travelling over Buckingham Branch RR tracks struck a garbage truck, killing one and injuring two men.