Posts Tagged ‘grade crossing fatalities’

Agencies Launch Grade Crossing Safety Campaign

April 23, 2019

Two federal agencies have launched a railroad grade crossing safety program.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are spending $5.6 million to urge motorists and pedestrians to be more careful at grade crossings.

The agencies noted that last year grade crossing accidents resulted in 270 deaths.

Of those 99 were killed after a motorist drove around lowered crossing gates, which the FRA said was the highest number of such fatalities in the past decade.

The campaign, which will run through May 12, includes a video on digital and social platforms, radio advertising and social media messages.

Advertisement are being targeted to high-incident communities in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

Trial Begins in Case of Truck Driver Struck by Amtrak Train that Carried GOP Congressmen in January 2018

February 25, 2019

A Virginia court began hearing evidence on Monday in the trial of a truck driver charged in connection with a Jan. 31, 2018, crash involving a chartered Amtrak taking Republican members of Congress to a political retreat in West Virginia.

Dana William Naylor Jr., the driver of the truck, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving under the influence in connection with the incident that left one passenger in the truck dead and another seriously injured.

Prosecutors said in court that Naylor drove the truck around downed crossing gates on tracks operated by the Buckingham Branch Railroad near Crozet.

Albemarle County assistant commonwealth’s attorney Juan L. Vega said in his opening statement that Naylor was impaired by THC, typically derived from marijuana, at the time of the collision.

Vega said that after the collision Naylor told EMTs called to the scene that he had tried to beat the train and that “his life was over.”

Defense attorney William Tanner countered that the crash was a “horrible tragedy,” but that Naylor had not tried to drive around the crossing gates.

Rather, Tanner said, the crossing gates came down on the truck as it passed over the crossing and that Naylor panicked when he was unable to drive around the gate on the other side of the crossing.

Tanner contended that video evidence of the collision will support that argument and that Naylor’s conduct was not a crime.

During Monday’s proceedings, three witnesses testified about Naylor’s behavior at the scene of the collision after it occurred.

EMT Emma Freeauf said she treated Naylor who repeatedly asked about the condition of his coworkers.

She also testified that Naylor said he “tried to beat the train” and that the collision “was all his fault.”

Nayor and the two other men in the truck, which was hauling garbage, were all employees of the same company.

No one aboard the chartered Amtrak train, which was following the route used by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal, were injured.

Court Documents Show Driver had THC in System

December 7, 2018

A Virginia television station has reported that court documents show the truck driver who drove a garbage truck into the path of an Amtrak special last January carrying Republican Congressmen had THC in his system on the day of the incident.

The documents say that 31-year-old Dana Naylor had THC — the psychoactive component from marijuana — in his system on the day of the crash.

The documents show a urine test was positive for THC at a 606 level at the time of the Jan. 31 incident that killed a passenger in the truck and left another person seriously injured.

A medical doctor at the University of Virginia said Naylor’s test didn’t just come back positive, but that the levels were also elevated.

“It’s certainly gonna make a screening test positive, which makes them do a confirmation test, right?” said Dr. Chris Holstege “It’s above what the cut-offs typically are for screenings, so now I have a level that’s elevated, and significantly so.”

Holstege told the TV station there is no question marijuana was in the driver’s system at the time of the accident.

“They certainly did marijuana,” Holstege said. “The question then comes — how often marijuana? If you’re a chronic user, that can impact your driving, right?”

Naylor was indicted by a Virginia court for manslaughter and DUI maining. He is set to go to trial next February.

The TV station, WVIR in Charlottesville, said in its report that there is no target number for THC like there is with alcohol content in the body.

The station said this gap in the law makes it difficult to say whether a driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

“It’s hard to interpret, and especially from urine to go back and say ‘yes that level’s really high, that must have meant that they were inebriated at the time of the accident,’” Holstege said. “You really can’t do that.”

WVIR said neither Naylor’s attorney or a prosecutor would comment on the pending case.

The Amtrak special was en route from Washington to the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia where the GOP lawmakers were to attend an annual political retreat.

The train was following the route of Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

None of the Congressman suffered serious injuries beyond bumps and bruises.

The crash occurred on the Buckhingham Branch Railroad at at a grade crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

Earlier, a judge denied a request from Naylor’s attorney to +suppress the evidence from a blood test.

The attorney argued the test was obtained in a misleading way.

The test was ordered after a detective said several hours after the collision that he smelled alcohol on Naylor.

The defense attorney said EMTs on the scene didn’t notice an odor at the time of the crash, but a judge agreed with a prosecutor who said the defense didn’t present enough evidence to get the information from the blood test thrown out.

In a preliminary report the National Transportation Safety Board said Naylor drove around the railroad crossing gates, ignored signals that a train was coming, and ended up on the tracks as the train arrived.

Driver of Trash Truck Struck by Amtrak Special in Virginia Indicted for Being Under the Influence

June 8, 2018

The driver of a trash truck that was struck, by an Amtrak special in Virginia in January has been indicted for being under the influence at the time of the collision.

The Amtrak special was carrying dozens of Republican congressmen to a retreat in West Virginia. One employee of the trash-hauling company died in the collision near Crozet, Virginia.

The Albemarle County Police Department said in a statement that 31-year-old Dana W. Naylor Jr. was indicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of maiming another while driving under the influence. It’s not clear what the alleged intoxicant was.

A second passenger of the trash truck was seriously injured. No one aboard the train suffered serious injuries.

Truck Driver Ignored Warning Gates Before Crash

February 22, 2018

An on-board camera has shown that the garbage truck that was struck by an Amtrak special on Jan. 31, had entered a grade crossing after the crossing gates had gone down.

The National Transportation Safety Board said this week that the forward-facing camera showed that as the crossing came into view, the gates were down and the garbage truck was on the tracks at the grade crossing.

The NTSB said that witnesses to the crash reported the truck had entered the crossing after the gates were down at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

The special was carrying Republican members of Congress to an annual political retreat at the Greenbrier resort hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

A passenger in the truck was killed and another suffered serious injuries. The truck driver came away with minor injuries.

Three Amtrak crew members and three passengers also suffered minor injuries.

The preliminary NTSB report said that the crossing has advance warning signs and pavement markings on its approach. It is equipped with crossbuck signs, warning lights, bells and gates.

The collision caused the front axle of the lead P42DC locomotive to derail, although it remained upright.

The NTSB will later release a finding of probable cause and issue safety recommendations.

Crossing Gates May Have Malfunctioned

February 3, 2018

The grade crossing gates in Virginia where an Amtrak special carrying congressmen to a political retreat struck a garbage truck on Wednesday may have been malfunctioning at the time of the collision, NTSB investigators have said.

The investigators told reporters that several witnesses have come forward to say that there had been “issues” with the gates in the days before the incident.

The collision occurred on the Buckingham Branch Railroad near Crozet, Virginia. One person inside the truck was killed. None of the congressmen, their aides or family members was seriously injured. They were en route to a Republican conference being held at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The NTSB said that the chartered train was traveling at 61 mph at the time of the accident, which is slightly over the 60 mph top speed for that section of track.

The NTSB investigation is expected to take up to two years to complete.