Woman in Critical Condition after Being Hit by Passing Freight Train
Ulster resident Ashlee Crescione was seriously injured by a passing train while walking not on, but alongside the train tracks. The 21-year-old woman was hospitalized in critical condition after the accident, but appears to be steadily recovering from her injuries. A subsequent investigation determined that Crescione was walking slightly outside of the gauge of the tracks, and was not intending to be struck by the train, but instead was simply walking too close, and possibly had underestimated the width of the oncoming train. Freight trains are wider than commuter trains, and thus they extend farther beyond the width of the tracks.
Before hitting Crescione, the two-person crew operating the freight train reports sounding the train’s horn twice to alert the woman that it was oncoming. However, the 5,858-foot-long train would require 1 to 1.5 miles to come to a complete stop, and the crew stated that it was unable to stop before reaching Crescione. It is not yet understood why the woman did not move out of the way of the tracks upon hearing the horn. Freight trains typically operate with video cameras on board, so upon further investigation it may become clearer what exactly occurred at the scene of the accident.
Pedestrian-Train Collisions Are Increasing
Every 90 minutes, a train collision or derailment occurs in the United States. While train accidents are steadily decreasing, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that 891 fatalities occurred nationwide as a result of train accidents in 2013. The Federal Railroad Administration reports that, of the over 1,600 train accidents occurring in 2013, 31% were caused by problems with the track, 12% were caused by equipment failure, 3% were due to signal error, and 39% were caused by human error, with the remainder due to miscellaneous factors. However, 96% of fatalities due to train accidents were caused by trespassing on the tracks or incidents at highway-rail grade crossing incidents. An estimated 80% of rail crossings are not properly equipped with warning devices or protections for drivers or pedestrians, and some 50% of total train accidents occur at such unprotected rail crossings. Train accidents involving pedestrians are increasing, while accidents involving train and vehicle collisions are becoming less frequent.
It is extremely important for pedestrians and drivers alike to exercise great caution when on or near train tracks, but railroad companies have an obligation to take appropriate safety measures to ensure that drivers and pedestrians are aware of oncoming trains and the presence of tracks. If you or a loved one have been injured by an unprotected or improperly-operated train, seek legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure that you are compensated for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Contact experienced Hudson Valley train accident and personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan for a free consultation on your personal injury claims as a result of a train accident by calling (845) 338-8884.