(Rosepine, Louisiana – September 10, 2015)
Two Louisiana residents were injured in a collision between a southbound Kansas City Southern freight train and a westbound 2007 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck last Thursday just before noon at the intersection of Calhoun Dairy Drive and KCS railroad tracks in Vernon Parish north of Rosepine, LA. Interestingly, according to Federal Railroad Administration documents which information is supplied by the railroad, zero trains ever intersect with vehicular traffic. However, we know this not to be true as this crossing is riddled with an accident laden past. Just this past April 7, the road/rail intersection was the location of another recent collision, this one between an 18-wheeler and another KCS train, resulting in one injury. The FRA files further reveal that two earlier accidents between trains and the daily average of 500 vehicles.
On Thursday, two Leesville, LA residents received injuries when driver Juan Carlos Alonzo, 20, and his passenger, Justice Maraiah Aguilera-Hollis, also 20, had the aforementioned pickup truck struck on the rear on the passenger side. Ms. Aguilera-Hollis received what were described as “moderate” injuries, and was hospitalized at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Lake Charles, and Alonzo suffered “minor” injuries. Louisiana State Police troopers who investigated the accident, which totaled the Honda pickup found that both victims were properly wearing seat belts.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this accident one would not have happened. Both KCS 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%.