(Thomasville, North Carolina – November 23, 2012)
Heavy tree foliage and a lack of active protective signals contributed to the injury of a plumber for R & R Plumbing in Thomasville, NC when he failed to see an approaching train until he was on the track, and then tried to reverse but instead placed the vehicle in park at about 2:40 P.M. Friday afternoon.
Walt Smith was driving an R & R company van when he attempted to cross High Point, Thomasville & Denton Railroad tracks at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Hillcrest Circle and HPT&D tracks.
The driver received numerous cuts and was treated at the scene by paramedics from Davidson County Emergency Services who responded to the accident, which heavily damaged the van. He was quite shaken, and said he felt the crossing, which is only a block from his residence, should have extra precautions, such as lights and gates, installed. Currently, it has only standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs and highway yield signs. According to railroad industry claims, lights, gates and bells could prevent 90% of all railroad crossing accidents, and certainly would have halted the one Friday.
The HPT&D Railroad is owned by the Winston-Salem Southbound Railway, which in turn is owned by a partnership of the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad companies.