Maize residents react to truck-train collision


MAIZE, Kan. (KSNW) – In the wake of Tuesday’s fatal crash near the intersection of 53rd and 135th Street, several residents of Maize say they’d like to see safety improvements to railroad crossings in the area.

According to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, the railroad crossing where the crash took place had no arms, lights, or whistles—only traffic markings from the tracks.

“Definitely kind of makes me sick to my stomach to think about,” Maize resident Ashley Best said.

Best has lived in Maize for almost two years near a different railroad crossing. She says the problem with railroad safety in the area extends well beyond the scene of Tuesday’s crash.

“My children right now are just in the elementary level, but when they get older and are able to walk to school if they have to cross a railroad track, then that is a huge concern of mine.” Best said.

“Railroad safety is lacking quite a bit,” Maize resident Wesley Leatherman said.

Leatherman, who’s lived in Maize for more than 13 years, says he would like to see lights installed at every railroad crossing in the area.

“There’s a lot of railroad crossings that we cross without cross guards, and it is kind of scary actually because you see people not stop at them,” Leatherman said.

“There’s children all over the place, and if there’s not railroad tracks that have precautions set up for these kids and their safety, that is a big concern of mine,” Best said.

Here are the steps for navigating freight and commuter train crossings according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  1. Stop, look both ways, and listen. Remember that trains always have the right of way.
  2. Make sure you have room to get across. Once you enter the crossing, keep moving.
  3. Stop 15 feet away from flashing red lights, lowered gates, a signaling flagman or a stop sign.
  4. Never try to drive around a lowering gate. Never ignore signals, and always use caution.
  5. Before you begin to cross, wait for gates to fully rise and for all lights to stop flashing.
  6. Never assume that there is only one train coming from a single direction.
  7. If your car stalls on a rail track, quickly get everyone out – even if you don’t see a train coming. Then, run away from the tracks and your car. Avoid running in the same direction that the train is coming, because you could be hit by flying debris if a train hits your car. When it’s safe to do so, call the number on the blue Emergency Notification System sign. If the sign is not visible to you, call 911.

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