Mississippi Officials to Close Dangerous Railroad Crossing

March 27, 2008

Authorities say they are closing a railroad crossing in Moselle, Miss., where one motorist died and another was injured in separate collisions with trains on Monday.

There are no warning lights or crossing guards at the intersection on Eastabuchie Road in Jones County and some members of the community have called the crossing deadly for years.

Two people died there in January. After Monday’s accidents, officials barricaded the crossing. Motorists can use another crossing just a couple hundred yards away that has crossing arms and lights.

“We are recommending its permanent closing,” said Sharpie Smith, a project engineer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge told the Laurel Leader-Call that the intersection was too dangerous to keep it open any longer.

“If it’s going to be open it should have bars and whistles at it. If not it needs to be closed,” Hodge said. “I mean, that’s just the way it is. It’s a safety factor.”

Hodge said a Seminary woman was critically injured Monday when an Amtrak train collided with her Ford Mustang at about 9:46 a.m.

“The conductor said that the vehicle was not in a hurry, just continuously moving, never stopped, just continued right out in front of the northbound train,” he said.

The driver was not immediately identified. Hodge said she was taken to Forrest General Hospital and was in critical condition on Monday.

Just hours later at about 4 p.m., the driver of a sports utility vehicle died in a collision with a train at the same crossing. No information was immediately available on the identity of that driver.

Tammy Dickerson, who owns a salon near the crossing, saw the second crash.

“It looked like he slowed down for the track, but didn’t stop. He hit the track at the same time the train got to that spot,” she said. “It was like a nightmare in slow motion.”

The crossing has been under scrutiny for years. A community meeting was held earlier this month to discuss the closing of the crossing after two people died there in January.

MDOT official were planning to take up the issue at a commission meeting in about two weeks. Smith said due to the accidents, it will be scheduled for a meeting Tuesday.

Information from: Laurel Leader-Call, http://www.leadercall.com

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.