|On April 8, 2015 at approximately 1:00 AM, a 2011 Freightliner tractor trailer was traveling south on Lilac Street between Fort Robinson Drive and Netherland Inn Road. The driver, William Chester French, Jr. chose to disregard the sign that clearly indicated a risk of high-centering his trailer and attempted to cross the railroad tracks. The trailer promptly got hung-up on the raised railroad bed.
Rather than calling 9-1-1 immediately, Mr. French attempted to back up and get the trailer dislodged. During this delay, an eastbound CSX train struck the tractor trailer. Fortunately, Mr. French saw the approaching train in time and was able to get clear of the truck prior to impact and avoid injury.
The train pushed the tractor into the railroad crossing signal, causing significant damage to the gate. The trailer was pushed approximately 1,000 feet down the tracks. Mr. French was cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device. No one on board the train was injured.
Motorists are strongly encouraged to observe and obey all signals and signs when operating any vehicle. This is especially important when approaching an intersection and critical when approaching a railroad crossing.
If any vehicle becomes disabled at a railroad crossing, 9-1-1 should be called immediately. Dispatchers can then notify the railroad officials who can temporarily suspend railway traffic until the tracks can be cleared. Had this procedure been followed in this instance, this crash and the resulting property damage could have been avoided altogether.