Illinois, and in particular the city of Chicago, is a major hub for railroads and train transportation. Every year, thousands of passenger and freight trains travel through our state. Even though passengers and members of community trust that they should be safe around the railroads, we often hear in the news about railroad accidents.
According to a report by WSILTV.com, a farm chemical company worker died after his truck was hit by an Amtrak train. The fertilizer truck driver was reported to have died after being airlifted to the local hospital. The accident occurred in Savoy, Illinois in Champaign County. According to the local authorities, the man was driving the fertilizer truck out of a farm field, and he drove in front of the oncoming northbound train that was headed from Carbondale. Witnesses reported that the man was hauling farm equipment, and he attempted to cross an unmarked railroad crossing. Of the train’s 100 passengers, several suffered minor personal injuries in the collision.
It is unclear whether negligence on the part of the train or railroad operator played a role in the truck driver’s death but it is important to discuss the issue of an unmarked crossing. In the past, our attorneys have provided readers with information about what to do as a driver or pedestrian around train crossings. However, as you notice with this accident, this was an unmarked train crossing, so you may be wondering what to do in a situation like this where there are no clear signals, signs, or directions to follow. Even when a crossing is not marked, it is important to always look both ways. Furthermore, according to Operation Lifesaver, in order to be vigilant and best protect yourself, always expect an oncoming train. Freight trains do not follow set schedules, like commuter trains. Also, trains travel a lot more quickly than we expect, and can seem as if they suddenly appear. These trains cannot stop quickly, and a freight train that moves at 55 mph would take about a mile to stop. For that reason, even when the train engineer sees a person or vehicle crossing the tracks, they cannot stop in time.
Unfortunately, Illinois railroad accidents are common and many lead to severe injuries or death. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a train accident, our attorneys may be able to help you. Contact our law firm for a free consultation, and one of our attorneys would be happy to discuss your legal options with you.