(Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania – July 26, 2012)
A Pennsylvania short line railroad locomotive, emerging from a heavily foliage-enshrouded rail line at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of the Luzerne & Susquehanna Railway and River Road in Jenkins Township, PA, struck and totaled a Honda Accord driven by 78-year-old Elizabeth Yanora of West Wyoming, PA Thursday morning.
There are no active protective systems such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates at the L&S/River Road crossing which has proven to be 90% effective at preventing accidents such as this. Rather, motorists have to take their chances with trains approaching a brush and tree-obscured crossing with nothing more than standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs to protect them.
Harry O’Neill, who works nearby, heard the noise of the automobile vs. locomotive crash and ran to the scene to see if he could help.
“I ran out and shut the car off, and I asked her (the driver) if she was alright, and she said ‘Help me’”, recalled O’Neill.
People who live and work near the crossing say the lack of signals at the crossing has become a constant safety issue.
“It’s a very big problem because a lot of times I see cars barely making it through (before the train),” said O’Neill.
The victim was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in Plains Township, PA for treatment of undisclosed injuries.
The L&S Railway operates on the tracks owned by the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority, and is part of a four-railroad short line group headquartered in Owego, NY.