When approaching a railroad crossing, it is important to check for trains, whether there are whistles, a safety bar or flashing lights. A collision with a train can have tragic results, and the situation is even more tragic when the accident could be prevented. Residents in Watova are asking for improvements for a train crossing to prevent additional car accidents from occurring after a recent accident that killed two young girls.
The accident happened on Oct. 1. A mother and her two young daughters were driving across the train tracks when they were struck by a train. The two girls, aged 9 and 6, were killed. The mother suffered serious injuries and is currently hospitalized.
Local residents have been complaining about the railroad crossing for a long time. The crossing doesn't have flashing lights or a safety bar, and residents state that if you have your radio turned up and are running the air conditioner in your car, you might not hear the train whistle. On top of that, the crossing has two sets of tracks, and a train often sits on one set of tracks. This creates a blind spot for cars that cannot see if a train is coming on the other set of tracks. Residents have feared an accident such as the one that just happened, and they are afraid it will happen again.
The tracks are owned by Union Pacific. Residents have called the company numerous times to no avail. Residents want warning lights and a crossing bar placed at the crossing so drivers have warning that a train is approaching.
An accident such as this that kills two innocent children is the epitome of tragic. It could also be considered negligence on the part of the train company. If it can be proved that parking a train on one set of tracks created a known hazard, the company could be found culpable in the deaths of the two girls and the injuries of the mother. This information will be important if the family chooses to pursue civil litigation against the company. Anyone who is facing such a tragedy would be wise to seek advice from an experienced law professional who can assist with determining the best course of action to take.
KJRH.com, "Watova residents say they've called to complain about railroad dangers following girls' deaths" Liz Bryant, Oct. 01, 2013