Louisiana — Three separate train crashes within 24 hours left 2 people dead and seven inured in Louisiana on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.
8:00 AM — Slidell, LA
An Amtrak passenger train derailed after hitting an 18-wheeler in a railroad crossing accident in Slidell, LA at approximately 8:00 A.M. on April 20, 2011. The Amtrak train was traveling from New Orleans, LA to New York, NY. The train struck the semi truck as it crossed the railroad tracks. The driver of the truck and five train passengers were injured in the truck and train crash. Luckily, no deaths were caused by the accident.
The railroad crossing where the collision occurred has only crossing and stop signs. There are no warning lights or a gate at the tracks.
The tractor trailer involved in the crash was carrying armored personnel carriers. The Cleveland intersection, where the crash occurred, is the only access road to the Textron plant where the APC’s are built. The truck driver and five train passengers were injured in the crash.
The Chief Administrative Officer of Slidell, LA, Tim Mathison, said the city has been going back and forth for years with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development trying to get the Cleveland intersection gated or closed and build a separate access road to Textron. The cost of railroad crossing warning systems for the intersection are estimated be between $150k and $250k.
"We are trying to make that happen. It just hasn’t come to fruition yet," Mathison said. "It is quite expensive."
Norfolk Southern, the railroad company that owns the train tracks, said the warning systems are traffic control, like a stop sign or a red light. It said that they will install the warning systems, but the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
(DOTD) must pay for the railroad crossing gate and warning lights.
The Louisiana DOTD released a statement on Thursday: "DOTD has recommended the rail crossing at Front Street in Slidell for closure for at least 10 years; however, this is an off-system crossing – meaning, it is not state-owned, but city-owned and it is within the City of Slidell’s jurisdiction to close. Currently, there is a work order for Norfolk Southern Railroad to install improved signage. DOTD will continue to work with the City and the railroad to come up with viable options to make the crossing safer."
Mathison said that he expects Wednesday’s truck and train crash will expedite efforts to put up warning systems at the intersection.
6:30 PM — Vinton, LA
A 36 year-old woman died in a pedestrian train accident in Vinton, LA. She was walking on the railroad tracks with four other people. A 19 year-old man also was injured. The three others in the group were not injured according to local media reports.
Investigators believe a camera attached to the train will shed light on what happened before the pedestrians were hit by the train.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso looks forward to viewing the video. "We’ll get our detectives to view that to make sure there was no foul play involved or anything," he said. "We’re just trying to figure out what took place, why they were on the tracks and why they couldn’t get off the tracks in time for the train.
While dozens of passengers were on the train at the time of the crash, no train passenger injuries were reported.
10:30 PM — Jefferson Parish, LA
A railroad crossing accident involving an Amtrak train and car left one woman dead at about 10:30 PM on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 in Jefferson Parish near New Orleans, LA.
Investigators say the woman ignored the ignored the traffic control signals and had driven around the railroad crossing guard when her car was struck. The Amtrack passenger train was on its way to New Orleans, LA from Chicago, IL. None of the passengers on the train were injured and the damage to the train itself was minimal.
If you have been affected by a railroad crossing accident, contact a railroad crossing train crash attorney now to discuss your right to financial compensation. An experienced train accident attorney can find the cause of the crash and help you collect the personal injury or wrongful death damages you deserve.