(New Kent County, Virginia – January 18, 2019)
An employee of the Woodfin Company suffered undisclosed injuries and was rushed to a local hospital for treatment after his Ford truck hauling a work trailer was struck by an eastbound Amtrak train. The train vs vehicle collision occurred Friday morning about 11:16 AM, EST in New Kent County, VA. The train involved in the collision was carrying 80 passengers as well as crew members at the time of the collision.
The victim, 30-year-old Jean-Kyle Maurice Chittum, a resident of Dunnsville, VA, probably never heard or saw the approaching train until too late. Federal Railroad Administration grade crossing safety regulations do not require locomotive engineers to sound the train’s horn as they approach crossings designated as “private.” Additionally, there were no automatic warning devices at this crossing, such as flashing lights or crossing gates.
The crossing, which is owned and maintained by the CSX Transportation, accommodates a daily average of 14 CSX freight and Amtrak passenger trains. The trains traverse the crossing at maximum speeds of 79 mph. The crossing was also the site of another collision between an Amtrak train and a highway vehicle several years ago.
The portion of Rockahock road which is crossed by CSX rails has considerable tree foliage which tends to impair a driver’s vision as he approaches the crossing.
So violent was Friday’s collision that the Ford pickup and trailer were total losses. Debris from the force of the collision caused heavy damage to a second vehicle that was near, as well as considerable damage being dealt to a nearby mobile home.