Ashford Train Accidents

Residents in Ashford are still talking about two car accidents involving trains last week in their city.

On Wednesday, the first accident occurred when the driver of an SUV attempted to outrun an oncoming train across the tracks.

This was at the railroad crossing at Tenth Avenue and Old Highway 84.

The 21-year-old driver was taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition.

Then just two days later, a 16-year old driver suffered minor injuries when a train while crossing First Avenue and Old Highway 84 hit his pick-up truck.

Officers say the driver had his stereo up too loud and couldn't hear the train's horn.

While Ashford police blame driver carelessness for both accidents, residents say several of the city's crossings need additional safety measures such lights and cross guards.

However, they do agree drivers should be more cautious.

News 4 was unable to reach a CSX railroad company official for comment on the situation. Extended Web Coverage

Operation Lifesaver

  • In 1972, when Operation Lifesaver began, there were approximately 12,000 collisions between trains and motor vehicles annually.

  • By 1999, the most recent year for which complete information has been collected, the number of train/motor vehicle collisions had been reduced by more than 70-percent to 3,489.

Highway-Rail: Grade Crossing Fatalities

  • Illinois (54)
  • Texas (41)
  • Indiana (26)
  • California (24)
  • Ohio (21)
  • Louisiana (20)
  • Florida (19)
  • Minnesota (17)
  • Mississippi (17)
  • Arkansas (15)
  • Michigan (15)
  • Oklahoma (14)
  • Alabama (12)
  • Iowa (10)
  • Kansas (8)

  • According to final statistics, there were 402 highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in 1999.

  • Seventy-eight percent of all 1999 highway-rail grade crossing fatalities occurred in these states.

Pedestrian: Trespass Fatalities

  • California (86)
  • Texas (42)
  • Illinois (32)
  • Florida (24)
  • N. Carolina (21)
  • New York (18)
  • Pennsylvania(15)
  • Arizona (14)
  • New Jersey (14)
  • Ohio (14)
  • Washington (13)
  • Tennessee (12)
  • Georgia (11)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Arkansas (10)

  • According to final statistics, there were 479 rail pedestrian/trespasser fatalities in 1999.

  • Seventy percent of all 1999 rail pedestrian/trespass fatalities occurred in these states.

Operation Lifesaver Safety Tips

  • Never drive around lowered gates – it’s illegal and deadly.

  • If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.

  • Never race a train to the crossing – even if you tie, you lose.

  • Do not get trapped on the tracks. Only proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping.

  • Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.

  • If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, immediately get everyone out and far away from the tracks. (Move away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is approaching.) Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching in either direction.

  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That’s at least 18 football fields!

  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

Source: (Operation Lifesaver Web site) contributed to this report