(Stanwood, Washington – September 27, 2016)
One man, believed to be the driver, was killed and a second seriously injured Tuesday evening at about 6:15 P.M., PDT, when the farm truck they were in was crushed by a BNSF freight train at a dangerous and unguarded private crossing just south of the intersection of 92nd Avenue NW and Pioneer Highway near Stanwood, WA. The death was the third to be suffered at private crossings in the BNSF rail corridor that carries an average of 20 BNSF freight and Amtrak passenger trains on a single track line through Snohomish County at maximum allowable speeds of 79 mph.
The second man, who was thought to be the passenger, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA, where he was admitted in critical condition. Neither victim was identified by name, age or residence by authorities from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
The crossing where Tuesday’s tragedy occurred has only standard, passive railroad cross-buck and highway stop signs at the road/rail intersection, neither of which have any capability whatsoever of warning drivers of the approach of trains. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both BNSF 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%.