Train tracks are flooded with warnings, railroad crossings are barred with gates and warning lights and bells, signs telling pedestrians to not walk down the tracks litter the railroad tracks, but being a Seattle injury lawyer I realize more than most that accidents still happen and people die every year in fatal train accidents. Just yesterday a fatal train accident took the life of three men after it crashed into their shuttle van as it crossed the tracks.
Late yesterday afternoon, Wednesday March, 24th three people were killed when a van was struck by a train while crossing the railroad tracks. The vehicle involved in the collision was a shuttle van carrying three Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crew members. The driver and two of the crew members were killed in the accident and a third passenger was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The train did not derail in the accident.
The train that struck the vehicle was a grain train headed North towards Seattle from Crookston, Minnesota. Police speculate the Northern bound grain train may have been hidden behind a Southern bound train and the van entered the crossing thinking the tracks were clear when they were struck by the train.
The victims of this horrible train accident have not yet been identified. An investigation into the incident is ongoing by both railway officials and local police.
It is important to be cautious around railroad tracks by following these tips:
- Stop, Look, Listen: before crossing the tracks make sure you stop, look and listen for a train- if a train is on its way do not try to beat it- just wait for it to pass then proceed.
- Keep Your Distance: Stay at least 30 feet back from a passing train to protect yourself from debris etc.
- Wait: When a train has passed wait and make sure the track is completely clear before proceeding
- Follow the Warnings: If the gate at a train crossing is going down and the lights and bells are warning of a train- DO NOT try to beat the train, patiently wait for the train to pass and the gate to lift