Railroad crossings are growing danger in Region 8

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The number of car vs. train accidents turned deadly from 2012 to 2013.

According to Arkansas State Police accident reports, the state saw five fatal accidents involving a train hitting a vehicle in 2013. Two of those were in Region 8.

Region 8 News asked residents at the Highland/Nettleton intersection in Jonesboro to describe the railroad crossing in one word. More than a dozen people replied: dangerous.

Residents said the crossing is in a bad spot because a lot of traffic passes through the intersection.

However, they said the most dangerous part about it is other drivers.

"They either don't care or they think they can beat it," Bay resident Shelly Lee said. "It's not a game."

However, Lee sees many drivers play the game every day.

"The horn means there's a train coming. Don't cross," Lee said. "I've seen them cross with the train right there, blowing the horn with the light on it and everything, and I've seen them cross. They may have kids in that vehicle, they may have their parents in their vehicle. It's ridiculous."

Safety measures, like railroad crossing arms, do not even stop some drivers.

"They drive around them," Lee said. "I've seen them park so close to the track that the bar actually came down on their hood. They need to find a safer way, rather than the bars and the arms that come down. Even putting cameras up, that does not work."

Lee learned this after a friend's reckless driving almost cost her daughter her life.

"I've had a friend of mine cross with my daughter," Lee said. "He crossed between the bars and it had a camera up there where it took a picture of the tags. I was mad because, I mean, I could have lost her."

Lee does not know what the city can do to stop drivers like this.

"People just don't pay attention," Lee said. "It's not a safety thing as far as they're concerned. They're just in a hurry to get where they're going and they're going to pass. They're not going to wait on a train and they can die."

Jonesboro resident Jaquobi Cook said drivers also ignore railroad crossing signs.

"Cars were stuck on the railroad track so it could be very dangerous," Cook said. "If a train comes, it doesn't matter where the cars are at. The train is going to come regardless and it's not going to stop."

"You don't see that many miracles with a train and a car," Lee said.

Lee and Cook said an overpass at this intersection could solve some of these problems.

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