Region 8 man says all motorists not at fault in train accidents

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

HALLIDAY, AR (KAIT) – A Region 8 man responded to comments made online about how accidents between cars and trains happen. According to Carlos Smith, who was hit by a train in 2006, his condolences go out to the family of Julia Fulks of Batesville. According to Arkansas State Police, she was killed when she pulled out into the path of an oncoming Union Pacific train at the railroad crossing at Highway 226.

Several comments have been made on Region 8 News' Facebook page. Many people have said those accidents in which a car is hit by a train is the fault of the driver and not the locomotive.

Smith said not all accidents are the fault of drivers.

"I was just out driving, just right down the road, which I live a mile down the road here," said Smith. "I was fixing to go up it and at that time it had a lot of brush. (There are) a lot of trees and stuff clear up to the crossing here."

"Naturally I went forward and caught it right in the driver door," said Smith. "According to the reports, I was thrown 362 feet down the tracks. The truck had flipped over about three or four times and landed pretty close to where I was at."

Smith said he spent a month in the Med in Memphis for numerous surgeries.

"The only thing I remember is I woke up at the Med at Memphis and I had head blocks and things like that on me, and tubes running like crazy. My gut was split open," said Smith.

Smith said he was volunteering to help residents of Marmaduke, who were devastated when a tornado blew through town April 2nd. Smith said he was exhausted and was trying to fix his truck before he was hit.

"An accident is an accident. It doesn't matter if you get hit on the road or get hit by a train. It's just the whole point of, you get hit by a train, you get labeled," said Smith. "It was almost like, are you just too stupid, can you not see that train coming down the tracks? Well, did you not see that car pull out in front of you whenever you as driving down the road and you hit them?"

"In the winter time it's not that bad, summer time the trees and bushes get out and you can't see anything until you get right on the track," said Bob Mansfield, who has lived along Highway 49 in Halliday since 2000.

"Sometimes no matter what you do, if it's destined to be that way, it's just that way. If it's not, it's not, but you can't be too careful. it's just like driving down the road, if you get occupied with doing something besides what you're doing, you're asking for trouble," said Mansfield.

Mansfield said he's witnessed at least a dozen car accidents along the tracks since he's lived in Region 8.

"Look both ways whenever you're crossing the tracks and just because there are guard rails down, if you're in front of them, sometimes they do go off and there isn't anything around but don't go around them either. Just be careful and really watch what you're doing," said Smith.

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