Operaton LifeSaver Rolls Through Paragould

PARAGOULD (KAIT) - Last year in Arkansas there were 71 collisions at crossings between trains and vehicles, 9 were fatalities.

But these accidents don't have to happen if you follow a simple rule.

"The minute they start flashing, before that gate goes down. The lights are flashing, it means stop."

Operation LifeSavers mission is to end collisions and save lives. This area of Region 8 unfortunately is an area that accidents occur often.

Sheryl Dudley, Operation LifeSaver, "Jonesboro and Paragould lately have been part of Union Pacific focus plan where we've had a lot of fatalities and collisions."

Working with local law enforcement, officers of the Union Pacific police staked out numerous crossings in Paragould to catch violators.

Cpl. Bradley Snyder, Paragould P.D. "We will be issuing citations today. We do this about twice a year, Union Pacific comes in and asks for our assistance at the police department to do these enforcement actions and write citations for disregarding railroad crossings."

The fine in Greene county is 135 dollars and 175 dollars in Craighead county. Not a lot of cash when you are in a hurry, but.

Dudley, "People are in a hurry every day, they're late for work or they're late for school or they're late for a dentist appointment. But you know those few seconds that it takes to wait are worth it."

Trains are so common in our area and we are so used to their presence we sometimes forget to use common sense.

Dudley, "Trains are an optical illusion, trains are much closer than they appear and you know they are bigger than we are. They are gonna get us every time if we go in front of that train."

An average freight trains weighs seventy thousand pounds and is moving from 50 to seventy miles per hour. How long will it take to stop, you do the math.

It's not all about writing tickets. Operation LifeSaver is here to educate people and keep them safe."

Officer John Schumacher, U.P. Police,  "Word of mouth is something that really spreads the news and you can see everybody driving around here now they're pulling up to the crossings and they're looking. If what we do here saves one person from getting hit by a train, it's worth it."