During the summer months your Charleston accident lawyers at Christmas Injury Lawyers came across a number of train-related accidents occurring at railroad crossings. Links to the entries covering these incidents can be found directly below this post. But, over the last month there have been two fatal accidents involving trains. The happened in mid-November when a 27-year-old woman from Alabama either jumped off or fell from a CSX transportation train. According to a Post and Courier report, the train was about two miles south of U.S. Highway 17 and S.C. Highway 162 in Charleston County when the serious accident occurred. According to the Charleston County Coroner’s Office, the woman died of blunt force trauma and it is thought that the fatal injury was not caused by direct impact with the train, but rather from the fall or jump from the moving locomotive.
After the accident, it was discovered that the woman was not riding alone on the train, she had illegally hopped on the train with a 29-year-old man from Connecticut. The man has since been charged with breaking and entering onto a train. According to an affidavit signed by the man, he continued on the train until it stopped in Georgia, where he told railroad officials about the incident.
More recently, a man was killed in Hanahan when his car was hit by an Amtrak passenger train. Witnesses on scene told authorities and investigators that a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire sedan was sitting on the railroad tracks when the crossing arms came down at Mabeline Road. Furthermore, witnesses said that the man in the vehicle appeared to be intoxicated at the time a southbound Amtrak train collided with the car, ripping the vehicle in half and killing the driver.
Railroad safety advocates say, despite the risk of serious injury and death, it is not uncommon for people to underestimate the threat of oncoming trains, and that is why some people attempt to cut in front of trains by going around railroad crossing arms. But, due to the size of trains it is difficult to accurately judge of how fast a train is coming, and that underestimation can cause a fatal auto accident. Many authorities, officials, and experts urge the public to follow a simple, yet highly effective, safety precaution when approaching a railroad crossing, “Do not cross over the tracks unless you clearly have room to safely cross over them.” Even with seemingly simple messages such as this coming from those who see the carnage left by these accidents on an almost regular basis, railroad safety advocates say it is not uncommon for people to underestimate the serious threat of oncoming trains, hence why some try to “beat” trains by going around railroad crossing arms. Due to the size of trains it is difficult to gain an accurate perception of how fast trains are coming, and that is often the underestimation, which leads to serious injuries and deaths.
Because your lawyers in Charleston have done previous posts containing historically significant accidents, and because it is the Holiday Season we thought it pertinent to share a bit of information about “The Best Friend of Charleston,” America’s first passenger locomotive. In a time of economic recession in Charleston “The Best Friend” brought prosperity back to the port city, making its premier trip Christmas Day 1830. But, tragedy struck six months later when a careless fireman unwittingly caused the locomotive’s boiler to explode. The serious work accident killed the fireman and caused serious burn injuries to the engineer.
From January to September of 2011, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there were a total of 8,192 train accidents, highway-rail incidents and other incidents, more than one would expect. Of those large number of incidents, 511 were fatal. The point your Charleston lawyers at Christmas Injury Lawyers are trying to make is that accidents are more common around railroads (for rail workers, individuals in cars, and as we saw above, vagabonds) than is commonly known. So please be sure to mind safety warnings around railroads and always obey crossing signals when crossing tracks in an automobile.
For more information on The Best Friend of Charleston, please click here.