Last Friday afternoon, a fatal train-versus-car wreck happened on FM 369. The incident, which happened near Old Iowa Park Road, took the life of a 91-year-old Holliday resident. Apparently, Helen Havins’ car was stuck between two crossing gates.
Although the wreck is still under investigation, it appears as though she tried to move her vehicle forwards and in reverse prior to the collision. According to KFDX News Channel Three, the train struck her car with such force that the trunk flew over 100 feet from the scene. Officials with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway said that the crossing arms, lights and bells were in working order at the time of the wreck.
The train’s engine did have video recording equipment, so Burlington Northern and local law enforcement officials will be reviewing the footage to determine if this tragic wreck could have been prevented. Trooper Tony Fulton was quick to point out that trains are large and heavy, and they can’t stop on a dime.
Very few details have been released about how Havins ended up between the two crossing arms, and this collision is still under investigation with both the railway company and local authorities.
Railroad Crashes in Texas and Oklahoma
Texas has more railroad-vehicle intersections than any other state. In the three years prior to 2012, there were 822 railroad-crossing incidents, and Texas accounted for almost 10 percent of all railroad crossing accidents across the country.
In March, we reported on an incident that took the life of a pedestrian in Oklahoma. The victim, 58-year-old James Littleton, was struck and killed by a Union Pacific Train. Very few details were released about the crash which took the life of a Tushka, Oklahoma man.
In 2012, a train crash in Midland, Texas took four lives, when a tractor trailer carrying veterans and their families was struck during a parade.
After a Crash Involving a Train
Any time a pedestrian or passenger vehicle occupant gets killed by a train, an in-depth investigation needs to be conducted. It’s absolutely critical to determine the exact causes of train crashes, so that potentially similar incidents can be prevented in the future. It’s also necessary to determine if negligence played a part in the crash or if crossing safety equipment malfunctioned.
The team at the Altman Legal Group sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Helen Havins.