The Marion Star – September 30, 2002


Dear Editor:

For anyone to call this a "minor" accident is a deadly mistake. The fact is the gates were supposed to be activated by the wheels of the CSX work truck. The train wheels on the truck must short out the track just like a train.

This tells the gates to drop and lights to flash. If there is rust on the tracks, rust insulates the train wheels from shorting the track. Therefore, the truck is not seen. Another possibility could've been that the safety equipment had been disconnected while the railroad crews inspected or worked on the track. How do we know? We don't. We have to rely on the railroads to comply with safety procedures or admit any wrongdoing.

Marcie Schrake is absolutely right when she said, "It should've been 100 percent avoidable." All safety devices at railroad crossings are federally
mandated to be failsafe. Had this been a train, she and her daughter would now be a statistic and the driver would've been blamed for "trying to beat the train." Had she survived, she would've been cited for "failure to yield" which is a common practice blaming the motorist instead of the faulty safety equipment, or total lack of protection at more than half of Ohio's public railroad crossings. The fact is "bad crossings kill good drivers."

My husband and I have established a non-profit railroad safety foundation as a result of the death of my son (and two of his friends) at a dangerous, unprotected Ohio railroad crossing in 1995. It is called The Angels on Track Foundation. Please take into consideration these facts when covering this type of collision in the future. Preventing future deaths and injuries depends on accurate coverage by the media and those reporting the causes for these types of preventable tragedies.

Vicky L. Moore, Trustee
The Angels on Track Foundation



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