Train collision kills parents and 6-day-old infant

Raleigh, North Carolina ( – News Report) – As the engineer of the Norfolk Southern train sounded his horn, the large freight train collided with a four-door car carrying a young couple and their six-day-old infant son. The train pushed the car about a quarter-mile down the track before it dragged to a stop. Both parents were killed at the scene. The baby boy was thrown from the car and in what seemed like miraculous luck landed in a nearby grassy area. Sadly, he too died minutes later.

This crash occurred at one of more than 1,000 such crossings in North Carolina with no mechanical warning devices. How can a train crossing not have any form of warning to other traffic? In the past ten years, there have been around 75 documented deaths, which have prompted Raleigh officials to build train signals and gates; part of a three-year, $7.6 million campaign to upgrade Eastern North Carolina rail crossings. According to the North Carolina Rail Plan 2000, “In 1999, North Carolina had 109 railway-highway grade crossing collisions, resulting in three deaths and 30 injuries – ranking it 18th in the nation for such incidents. With 4,432 public railroad highway crossings plus 3,370 private railroad-highway crossings, North Carolina is one of the leading states nationally in the average number of crossings per mile. However, as the number of freight and passenger trains increase and highway traffic grows, the need for crossing safety improvements will become even more critical.”

It is tragic that there were many fatalities before there were plans for safer crossings. It is always especially sad when the lives of infants are taken, before they really ever begin. Residents of North Carolina, and other states that do not have proper signals and gates at crossings must fight for their safety. If programs such as the North Carolina Rail Plan are executed correctly, think of how many more lives could be saved.

Source: State Department of Transportation

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