(Wichita, Kansas – February 22, 2013)
An as-yet unidentified 70-year-old woman from Wichita, KS died at a Wichita hospital Friday after her eastbound Ford Focus slid on icy crossing approach surfaces and collided with the locomotive of a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train hauling 69 cars at the intersection of 47th Street South and BNSF tracks in Wichita about 10:45 Friday morning.
The victim’s car slid 180 degrees and struck the side of the train’s first engine. Witnesses told Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Dept. Lt. Brad Hoch that the car began to slide and was unable to stop before the crash.
“We are looking at the possibility that this may be weather related,” said SCSO Captain Annette Haga, adding that “We still have some snow and ice on the roadway.”
The victim was revived at the accident site when a law enforcement officer arrived on the scene barely a minute after being called and applied CPR until Emergency Medical Services could transport her to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where she later died.
The tragedy was the fifth collision at the BNSF/47th Street South crossing according to Federal Railroad Administration records, but was the first fatality occurring there. The crossing, which accommodates a daily average of 33 trains at a top timetable speed of 55 mph, is equipped with both flashing lights and gates.