POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) - It's easier than you think to miss the roar of a train, that's what family and neighbors of a Poplar Bluff man say after what Missouri Highway Patrol calls a tragic collision.
61-year-old Arnold Jones was driving home on Country road 314 Saturday afternoon, when he apparently drove into the path of a Union Pacific train.
They say Arnold Jones lived close to the railroad tracks his entire life, and say you get used to the noise. In addition to cross-buck signs, citizens are hoping a crossing gate will be installed so another family doesn't have to suffer this tragedy.
"That's all you'll hear you won't hear nothing but that roaring and when you do hear the train it's up here when you just don't realize it from staying so close to the tracks you get used to that noise," says Jones nephew William Miller.
Miller was one of the first to reach the scene Saturday just after Jones apparently drove into the path of a Union Pacific train.
"If anybody gotta go to heaven it's gotta be him," says Miller.
Miller says his uncle was a good man who never met a stranger, active in the church, and the kind of man that would do anything to help you. Miller says Jones lived here all his life, and probably just got used to hearing the hustle of these trains.
Miller and other neighbors says there's more traffic at this crossing than you would expect. "They need a gate because we get too much traffic and we've been telling them that for years," says Miller.
"It's an impossibility to put crossing arms at every crossing it's just not possible you just have to be careful," says Sergeant Dale Moreland, with the Missouri Highway Department.
Moreland says it's likely Jones ended up with the sun in his eyes. He says in Missouri this year there's been 30 accidents involving trains, 5 of them deadly!
"I would say in this case this gentleman was used to coming across this crossing and got used to hearing so many trains that he was too relaxed here at home and cross that track," says Moreland.
Meanwhile, veteran engineers with Union Pacific say it's hard to judge how fast a train is moving, and now try to reach motorists with the look, listen, and live slogan. As for putting in additional safety features, those calls are made by the railroad or the state.
"Basically if you want something done and it's not an election year down here you don't get it done," says Miller.
While it isn't a law in Missouri to stop at these intersections, you do have to yield. Jones family members say they are planning funeral services that should take place this Friday.