CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIFORNIA (September 1, 2015) – Traffic came to a stop at around 3 p.m. in City of Industry on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 when a Union Pacific freight train collided with a Conway freight semi-truck at Fairway Drive and Walnut Drive. The train was traveling at approximately 40 mph when it struck the semi, which was still partially on the tracks. The impact caused the semi to be shoved into several other vehicles, and aerial footage shows at least one vehicle lodged under the trailer of the semi. The accident caused delays to several other trains, and caused lane closures while crews cleaned up the debris.
Several occupants of the vehicles sustained minor injuries, and three were transported to and treated at the hospital. None were seriously injured, despite extensive damage done to the vehicles and the crossing arms and mechanism.
Authorities have stated that the driver of the semi claims to have been “cut off” by another vehicle, causing him to be stuck on the tracks. Citations have been issued and the entire incident has brought the city to make the decision to launch a “sting.”
CHP has been out in force to ticket all those who stop on the rail road tracks. Although many people have been caught by CHP either stopping on the tracks or trying to slide through the crossing bars, the city feels it is better that they receive citations than be the next ones hit by a train. The Union Pacific also put a “slow and protect” order on its engineers going through the crash site until repairs have been made to the equipment damaged in the incident. “Slow and protect” means the engineer stops the train and walks it through the crossing, a precaution that is necessary when the bars are inoperable. A citation for stopping on the tracks is approximately $479.
“It isn’t worth your life”, states one CHP officer following the crash. Many people try to “beat the train” by driving between the crossing arms once they have dropped, signalling that the train is near. The fact is that too many people stop on the tracks, ignorant of how real the danger is. A train cannot stop immediately, and there is no way it can swerve to avoid a collision. When asked about the popularity of the “sting”, the same officer states, “Its for the good of public safety.”
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