BNSF: Warning signs were functioning at crossing where man was hit by train, killed; video not likely to be released

The railroad crossing where a man died Sunday was equipped with lights and gates that were working at the time of a deadly collision between a BNSF train and a sedan, a company spokesman told the Amarillo Globe-News.

 

“The crossing was equipped … they were functioning,” BNSF director of public affairs Joe Faust said. “All of our locomotives are camera-equipped; the next step in the process is to review the tapes to determine exactly how this vehicle got onto the track with lights and gates functioning.

“The tape is being reviewed, and we will work with local law enforcement and the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration).”

The investigation into the crash that led to the death of Steven Sorrells in the 500 block of North Eastern Street is still ongoing, Faust said. It is not likely the surveillance video will publicly released, he said, because of “pending litigation and working with local law enforcement officers to make sure that things are perfectly in order — it might be part of their further investigation.”

Faust did clarify that it was “too early to tell” if there would be any litigation regarding the crash but that he was not aware of any filings.

According to the APD, Sorrells, driving a gold 2004 Chevy Impala, disregarded the railroad crossing arms and was struck by the westbound train just after noon Wednesday. He died at the scene.

There were no other injuries in the crash and no hazardous materials were spilled, Faust said.

BNSF hosts a program, Officer on a Train, that spotlights dangerous railroad crossings and train safety.

“We always try to encourage safe activities around active rail crossings,” he said. “What we do with the Officer on a Train program is make sure that all citizens are aware at all times of practicing good habits around an active railroad and that means recognizing signs, making sure they don’t go around crossing arms that may be down (and) they respect flashing lights, gates and all types of warning signs before entering into a crossing.”

Faust said he did not know whether the train crossing in the 500 block of North Eastern Street had been identified as a dangerous crossing.

BNSF had been set to host an Officer on a Train program in Dalhart on Oct. 18 to discuss the dangerous crossings there, but the event was canceled due to a Dalhart Police Department officer-involved shooting. The event has not yet been rescheduled.

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