An 11-month-old girl miraculously survived an accident with a train and has now been released from the hospital following the weekend collision. Though the girl managed to survive the crash, the driver, the girl’s 64-year-old grandmother, tragically did not.
According to authorities in Pass Christian, Mississippi, an SUV driven by the girl’s grandmother was hit by a train after trying to pass over a railroad crossing that lacked visual warnings or crossing arms. Rescuers say that the woman, Sharon Jones, was following her son over the railroad trucks when the train slammed into the side of her SUV.
Jones’ son, who already safely crossed the tracks, jumped out and was horrified at the wreckage. According to police, Jones was still breathing at the time of the initial collision, but was not able to be saved. Her son then rescued the injured 11-month-old girl. By the time emergency medical responders arrived on the scene Jones was pronounced dead and the toddler was rushed to the ER.
The family of the girl say the accident is a tragedy that could ha been prevented. The wreck took place at Hiern Avenue in Pass Christian, on a railroad crossing lacking any warning signs. Not only were there no crossing arms to prevent vehicles from driving on the track, there were no flashing lights or any other indicator that warned of the oncoming train. The family says they will take their complaints up with the city about installing crossing arms at the intersection in the hope that other families are spared similar pain.
It’s terrible to think that a family has now suffered such a horrible tragedy, losing a grandmother and coping with serious injuries to a toddler, all because a railroad crossing was left totally unprotected. According to many safety groups, such accidents are far more common than many people might believe. In fact, in 2012 there were 1,960 accidents at railroad crossing that resulted in 235 deaths and over 913 serious injuries across the country.
Crossings are notoriously dangerous places to be because there are often obstacles that prevent clear sight lines. For instance, steep approach roads, other buildings and can all prevent approaching vehicles from seeing oncoming trains. Despite these dangers, nationwide only 35 percent of public railroad crossings have gates. This is a shame because research has proven that crossings with gates are dramatically safer than those without. Studies have shown that gates are between 80 and 90 percent more effective than simple warning signs.
Given the danger posed by trains, it’s critical that pedestrians and motorists alike steer clear of train tracks. Pedestrians should never walk in or along railroad tracks and drivers should be extra vigilant whenever they are on or approaching a railroad crossing. Don’t rely on warning lights or signals, malfunctions can happen anytime and you must remain alert.
Source: “Infant released from hospital following train accident,” by Caray Grace, published at WLOX.com.
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