(Crown Hill, West Virginia – April 29, 2020)
The as-yet unidentified operator of an ATV was rushed to a Kanawha County, WV hospital with serious injuries after his vehicle was struck and overturned by a CSX Hi-Rail truck. The collision occurred at an unguarded, double-tracked CSX Railroad crossing in Crown Hill, WV last Wednesday morning.
The hi-rail vehicle, which is a pickup truck with railway wheels, is not considered a train and as a result should yield right-of-way to motorists. Clearly this was not followed in the moments leading up to this collision. CSX rules and industry standards also require operators of such vehicles make sure highway/rail grade crossings are clear of conflicting traffic before proceeding across. Yet, track inspectors have been known to operate hi-rail vehicles across crossings at over 30 mph without stopping for vehicles within hazardous proximity to the crossing.
WCHS-TV also reported “The railroad crossing has warning signs, but no crossing arms to block traffic.” Its unclear if the lights and gates would have activated for the hi-rail Regardless of the absence of flashing lights and gates, the hi-rail operator should not have occupied the railroad grade crossing until the ATV had passed.
Sheriff’s deputies also reported that while the victim suffered serious injuries, they were not life-threatening.