Dangerous Rail Crossings

PARAGOULD (KAIT) - The railroads have been part of region 8 for over a hundred years.

And as the trains increased in size and speed so did accidents.... Whether it's cars or pedestrians.

Greene county is third in the state on the list for railroad accidents.

A fully loaded freight train can weigh in at over a million pounds, a million pounds moving at 60 miles an hour needs about a mile or so to stop.

Cpl. Brad Snyder PPD - "I really think that the main problem is folks not paying attention. These tracks have been here since the 1800s they've not gone anywhere. And I think people not paying attention and being impatient and not wanting to stop and wait for the train is the biggest problem that we see."

Greene county is an area of concern to the Union Pacific Railroad because of the number of crossing accidents.

Until a crossing gate was installed,  this crossing here on Goldsmith road in Paragould was the site of numerous accidents and several fatalities.

Karen Hydes 19 year old daughter Brandi Willis was killed at this crossing in July of 2000.

After her daughters accident Hyde received accident reports from the UP about this specific crossing.

Hyde, "They sent me incident reports that said nine people in the last three years that had been hit same track right here and three of them lived and the rest of them died."

The installation of crossing gates has made this crossing basically accident free.

Snyder, "Once they alleviated that around 2001 there have been zero incidents at that location. But that was one of our biggest crossing accident locations was that one there. "

With trains pushing through towns at nearly 60 mile an hour speeds the possibility of accidents is always there. The last fatality was a pedestrian.

Union Pacific has been working with county and local officials and law enforcement to insure that crossings are as safe as they can be. But drivers will still try to beat a train across the tracks or just simply not hear or see it.

And all the flashing lights and cross arms in the world can't take away the pain.

Hyde, "It's not worth it, not worth what you lose. They can never replace what I lost with her."

A reminder to those who would try to blow a crossing. In Greene county if the crossing lights are on and you continue driving it could cost you $135 ... Or a loved ones life.