Sedgwick County leaders looking to improve safety at railroad after fatal crash

Local

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County leaders are looking into options to improve safety at a railroad crossing in northern Sedgwick County after a fatal crash involving a train versus a truck Tuesday afternoon.

“There are three railroad tracks there. Two of them are sidings, and one of them is kind of the main track,” said Commissioner David Dennis.

Trains are parked on both sides of 135th Street, just north of 53rd Street. 

“The problem with that as you’re going north the way that they are parked is that there’s no sight distance whatsoever up and down the main tracks. So, you can’t see until you pull out beyond those cars,” he said.

A hazard that may have led to the death of Ana Guerrero-Dominguez. Investigators with the sheriff’s office said Guerrero-Dominguez was driving north across the tracks and did not see the train. Her two daughters were seriously hurt.

Aside from the blocked view, there are no mechanical cross or warning lights at the railroad crossing. 

“Those traffic control mechanisms on railroads are really handled by KDOT,” Dennis said. “We’re working with KDOT, and they will work with the rail company to find out what needs to be the next steps as we move forward.”

The railroad company in charge of the tracks, Watco, sent the following statement: 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We are unable to discuss or provide any details regarding the incident as it is currently under investigation.”

Watco

“The folks that run that railroad are going to have to take a hard look at how they parked their cars to allow sight distance up and down that track,” Dennis said.

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