(Hyattsville, Maryland – July 24, 2012)
An as-yet unidentified 29-year-old female motorist driving a GMC Yukon SUV was struck by a northbound CSX freight train Tuesday morning about 10:00 A.M. at the non-gated crossing of CSX railroad tracks and Decatur Street in Hyattsville, MD just after she had dropped her three children off at a nearby school.
Even though Tuesday’s accident was the ninth incident at the crossing, there are no crossing gates at the intersection, which has hair-raising near-90 degree angles as the road approaches the tracks from either direction in a dense commercial area. Additionally, the crossing is only “protected” by flashing lights and bells, lacking additional protection such as gates. The train, one of over 20 which cross there daily at a top speed of 25 mph, had three locomotives hauling 22 articulated container freight cars.
The train shoved the SUV nearly 30 feet beyond the crossing, and the woman was trapped in her vehicle, which was a total loss, until firefighters could extricate her by using jaws-of-life equipment, a maneuver which took nearly a half hour to perform. The victim was then transported to the Prince Georges Hospital Trauma Center in Hyattsville, MD with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.