(Reardan, Washington – January 19, 2018)
Two Washington State men received serious injuries after the vehicle they were in slammed into a stopped Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad train in Spokane County, WA Friday morning about 5:30 A.M., PST.
The two as-yet unidentified victims doubtfully ever were aware of the presence of the EWGRR train at the dangerous and unguarded road/rail intersection until too late to stop. The crossing of North Coulee Road and the single EWG track had neither flashing lights nor crossing gates to warn them of the presence of the train, which was stopped for switching rail cars.
One man had serious head injuries while the other suffered back and leg injuries after the crash, and could not escape the wreckage until extricated by responding fire fighters. The victims were then airlifted to a Spokane hospital where they were both admitted for treatment.
Although local law enforcement authorities placed partial blame on foggy and slick road conditions, the absence of automatic warning signals indicated a clear lack of public safety action by the railroad’s owners in the light of a fatal collision between a train and a highway vehicle that occurred at that same crossing on December 11, 2015.
The unguarded crossing carries a pair of EWGRR trains daily at a maximum allowable speed of 25 mph.
The railroad is owned by the WDOT and operated by the Lemont, Illinois-headquartered U.S. Rail Partnership Limited group.