(Bridgeport, Texas – September 29, 2014)
Both the driver and a passenger in the cab of an 18-wheeler were seriously injured Monday afternoon at about 12:45 P.M. when their truck was struck and the cab ripped from the frame of the tractor by an eastbound Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of a private drive and UPRR railroad tracks across from Don’s Air Conditioning between Bridgeport and Paradise, TX.
UPRR tracks run parallel to Texas Highway 114 along that corridor, which carries a daily average of four freight trains at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph. Neither of the victims, who were each flown by separate helicopters to hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, were identified by Texas Dept. of Public Safety Highway Patrol troopers who responded to the wreck, which occurred at a crossing with zero signals or signage and, as a private crossing, one that did not even require approaching trains to sound the locomotive horn under federal law.
Such crossings are deathtraps, where vehicular drivers are virtual sitting ducks, due to the absence of both active crossing protective (flashing lights, bells and crossing gates) as well as responsibility for the safety of the driving public by both public and railroad authorities.
Texas DPS also told news media responding to the scene that, since the crossing was private, they had no jurisdiction, referring all queries regarding the investigation to UPRR Police officers at the scene.
Public emergency response agencies, including the Paradise Volunteer Fire Dept., Wise County EMS and the Wise County Sheriff’s Dept., however, did respond to and participate in assisting the injured and looking into the factors surrounding the accident.