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Driver error kills three

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Driver error kills three

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
January 29, 2012

See the article yet about the driver in Sacramento who drove around a RR crossing gate and into the path of a light-rail train? The story says that two freight trains had passed and the RR gates had remained down.

So, what does the dummy do? Drove around the gate and got nailed by a third train. Two adults and a baby died. A third adult is hospitalized.

The train was thought to be clipping along at 55MPH - its normal speed on that stretch. The crossing contained four sets of tracks.

Moral of the story? When the gates are down and the lights are flashing? Stay off the tracks.

I remember watching a worker in an AT&T Cable truck lift a crossing gate on U.S. 30 in Lynnwood (Ill.) one day about nine years ago. The gates were stuck down, and I guess the AT&T guys were behind schedule. The gates are counter-balanced, and it took little effort on his part to raise the gate. The AT&T worker (passenger) held the crossing gate arm up while several cars and a tractor-trailer unit passed under the gate.

Lynnwood PD wouldn't respond (they said the gates got stuck "all the time"), nor would the State Police. So we faithful, kind, reverent, law-abiding drivers just sat there until the RR service truck finally showed up. Many drivers, probably familiar with the area and the problem, went around the gates.

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