(Push for installation of lights and gates at unsafe crossings)

The Repository


By: Ed Balint - Staff Writer

Williams County -- Railroad safety advocates will rally Sept. 8 at the site of a crossing accident that killed a mother and four children in July.

Lights and gates would have prevented the deaths, according to organizers of the rally.

The crossing is on County Road I between Edon and Montpelier near Route 80 and the Indiana line. The accident victims were from Indiana.

The National Rally at the Rails will be from 1 to 5 p.m.

Ohio is joining several other states in the rally. Ohio rail safety supporters have held the rallies since 1994. This is the first year of a multi-state rally.

"We choose this crossing because of the fatality and the fact it could have been prevented if there were gates and lights," said Vicky Moore of the Angels on Track Foundation.

Moore and her husband, Dennis, lost their son, Ryan, in a March 1995 car-train accident on Deerfield Avenue NW in Lawrence Township. Two other teen-agers died in the crash and three others-- including Ryan's brother, Jason-- suffered serious injuries.

Six rail crossing-related accidents occurred in Stark County last year, ranking fourth in the state, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

In 1997, Stark County had the most railroad crossings in the state, according to figures provided by the Stark County Regional Planning Commission.

Ohio has the fifth most crossings in the country, according to Angels on Track.

Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and Arkansas are joining in the rally, according to Scott Gauvin, founder of the Coalition for Safer Crossings in Illinois.

Gauvin said his best friend died in an accident at a railroad crossing near St. Louis about five years ago. "We're a family," he said -- Myself, Vicky (Moore) and anybody who has lost someone and anybody who's been on a train and been a victim, not only in a collision, but in derailments.

"The bond we have fills the absence of our loved ones, and we're fighting this together," Gauvin said.


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