A passenger car, which tried to drive around a safety “boom gate” at the Highland Avenue crossing, was struck by a train early yesterday afternoon, July 12.
The Burlington Northern/Santa Fe (BNSF) train, which was travelling at a relatively low speed, knocked the automobile on the tracks into the second vehicle, which was waiting in line.
There was significant damage to both cars and injuries to persons in at least one of the vehicles.
New Albany firemen had to free a person trapped in the second car. That person had injuries, the seriousness of which are not known.
New Albany Police Chief Chris Robertson said the woman driving the white Toyota sedan tried to drive around the boom gates. She was ticketed for disregarding the safety devices.
Witnesses to the accident said the safety devices protecting the crossing, consisting of flashing red lights and boom gates (sometimes called “boom barriers”) were functioning properly when the incident occurred.
The engineer was able to stop the train a short distance beyond the collision point.
By 5 pm in the evening, July 12, BNSF crews had repaired and replaced the damaged safety equipment.
During 2021, 893 people nationwide died in rail crossing accidents. That was a 20% increase over 2020.
Across the United States, about 60% of accidents involving trains and motor vehicles occur at crossings protected by flashing red lights and boom gates, such as the one at Highland Avenue in New Albany.