Police Charge SUV Driver in Collision at Railroad Crossing

| December 21, 2012 | 3 Comments | News

Credit: PotomacLocal.com

For the third time in just over a year, police responded to the railroad crossing at Lee Highway in Gainesville for a collision between a car and a Norfolk Southern train.

According to Prince William County Police, at 6:47 p.m. Wednesday evening, the female driver of an SUV stopped her vehicle on the tracks.

“The accused disregarded the signs and roadway markings and stopped on the tracks. Police spokesman Officer Dennis J. Jensen said. “The train was unable to stop and struck the rear of the car.”

Police report no injuries to the driver of the car or the train’s conductor, who was the only individual on the train.

As a result of the accident, traffic was shut down in both directions for approximately 2.5 hours before the train could be moved.

Police charged the driver of the SUV with the accident and released her on a summons.

“There were two other vehicles that were also stopped in the no stopping zone who were not involved in the accident but were issued tickets,” Jensen said.

Furthermore, police report another accident occurred at University Boulevard and Rail Line Court between an SUV and a car at about the same time as the train collision.

The two accidents, however, were not connected.

“There were no injuries reported,” he said. “This appears to be a regular accident.”

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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  1. Bates80 says:

    “As a result of the accident, traffic was shut down in both directions for approximately 2.5 hours before the train could be moved.” I’m so tired of careless drivers causing accidents which waste countless hours of other commuters’ time, and increase local motor vehicle pollution as cars idle for hours. These people should be put in jail and fined heavily.

  2. ihaveatwin says:

    I stopped in FRONT of the tracks. I was waiting until I had enough room in front of me to clear the tracks before I crossed over. There were two cars behind me. The train sideswiped the FRONT left side of the Jeep, not the rear. I was blindsided and never heard it coming with no warning at all from behind me to the left: no lights, horn, flashing lights, etc. The driver’s side door is perfect except my mirror is gone and damage to the front of the Jeep. The railway car appendages: ladders, steps, etc. were tapping the Jeep as it passed. I signed a summons and it says on it, it is not an admission of guilt. I told the officer at the time, I was NOT on the tracks, if I had been, I would be dead. Look at the pictures. The train is on the tracks. I am not.

    By the way, there are NO signs regarding those striped markings at the tracks. Also there is nothing in the current DMV issued driver’s license study guide for new drivers regarding those stripes on the ground at railway crossings. I got my license over 30 years ago. Those stripes were added recently in the past year for the construction. The only signs are “Do not stop on the tracks”, which I did not. And “Stop here with an arrow pointing down at a line next to the lowering gate, when the lights are flashing” and they weren’t flashing when I passed the sign in traffic with cars in front and behind me.

    Other people have complained that the gate malfunctioned in the past causing accidents, it might have again. There is a lawsuit about this intersection and the gate. Look it up online. Now there is a flashing sign that says railroad crossing 900 feet ahead. Those are all the signs there currently. Did you notice in the photo how far the gate is from the tracks? You can see the train and my car clearly in the photo.

    If I had been on the tracks, I would not be alive. The police described the damage to my car as “minor”. The car would have been compacted and demolished, if I had been on the tracks.

    The warning signs at this intersection need to be investigated for improvements, so drivers are properly warned well in advance that a train is coming to avoid these accidents. There have been three in the past year. That is more than a coincidence. The accident and lawsuit information is all available online for inquiring minds to see.

  3. flmthrwer says:

    The distance between the gate and the tracks is a major problem. It does not give sufficient warning to the drivers that a train is coming. In the photos it is obvious that there is a HUGE distance between the gate and the train crossing.

    Also, I notice from the photos, it is the front of the vehicle which is damaged not the rear. The driver was obviously NOT on the tracks.

    If I remember correctly an overpass is to be built because of the safety issues with this train crossing. When will that overpass be constructed??

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