ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

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John_Perkowski
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ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by John_Perkowski » Wed May 22, 2019 1:18 pm

Recently, two Law Enforcement Officers on an emergency run crossed a double track UP grade crossing in Texas. The emergency was an unresponsive infant. On track one, a manifest had just cleared. On track two, a container stack train was in its whistle approach.

LEO 1 collided in a T bone with the lead unit running at speed. He was unable to complete the response, and is now, thankfully, alive and in hospital. The officers failed in their mission.

THINK, ACT, AND BE SAFE AT GRADE CROSSINGS. THE TRAIN ALWAYS WINS!

Link: https://trainfanatics.com/the-train-aways-wins/
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Mikejf
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by Mikejf » Wed May 22, 2019 2:13 pm

Their judgement call. They were in a hurry to reach the infant. Any one of our first respoders, myself included, could have very well made the same decision. Seconds count. Hopefully the infant made it.

TrainDetainer
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by TrainDetainer » Wed May 22, 2019 3:08 pm

Their judgement call. They were in a hurry to reach the infant. Any one of our first respoders, myself included, could have very well made the same decision. Seconds count. Hopefully the infant made it.
WTF kind of statement is that? You'd think a 'first respoder' would have sense enough to make a much better, correct decision, which would have been not to drive around lowered gates and get hit by a train. Great judgment call, using the same logic and lack of critical thinking that gets people hit at crossings every day. One would think that first responders see enough stupidity by the general public every day that they'd learn from those mistakes. If I were your supervisor I'd have you standing in front of my desk right now in an attempt to prevent you from getting yourself hurt or killed. Practice what you preach - NEVER drive around lowered gates and always look before crossing. I hope every cop is made to watch the video of this incident. You may have some legal protection from violating certain laws, but thinking you're 'above the law', trying to be the hero, and acting stupidly has consequences - and as JP said, the train always wins at a crossing. The proof is in the pudding - https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2019/05/2 ... e-orig.cnn" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, and the infant is reported as OK, having been treated by other FRs.

justalurker66
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by justalurker66 » Wed May 22, 2019 7:20 pm

Mikejf wrote:Their judgement call. They were in a hurry to reach the infant. Any one of our first respoders, myself included, could have very well made the same decision. Seconds count. Hopefully the infant made it.
The Dr Phil response: "How's that working for you?"

I have seen EMS do the same trick (waiting in the opposing lane for the train to clear) but the ones I have seen also waited for the gates to raise. I have also seen officers throw away their moral authority to enforce traffic laws by going around gates even when they are not Code 3. As with most professions, the bad examples make the rest of the profession look bad.

A few years ago a police department near where I lived at the time started pulling over volunteer fire fighters and ambulances for wreckless driving. Not a bad idea and a reminder that getting there safely is an important part of the response. Prior to the enforcement there were several incidents where EMS vehicle collided with people who did not see them in time to react to their presence.

Mikejf
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by Mikejf » Wed May 22, 2019 8:26 pm

Yes, all the driver training in the world does not prepare you for a call of an injured or worse infant. Luckily I have never been in that situation. I can easily understand why the officer made the decision he or she did because, as I said before, seconds count.

There is also no need to put others lives in jeopardy responding to a call. I like to hear about police cracking down on first responders for reckless driving. I have seen too much of that.

justalurker66
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by justalurker66 » Thu May 23, 2019 4:20 am

BTW: I include the police as part of the group that needs accountability for their driving. Officers are human, but as leaders they should set an example. I could go through a laundry list of accidents that occurred because an officer made a mistake - some of those mistakes fatal for themselves or members of their community. But it is more important for ALL drivers to take a breath, drive safe and arrive at their destination. And make it home at the end of their shift.

Emotional detachment is a skill. To some it comes natural. It doesn't mean that one does not care about the child they are rushing to rescue as if it were their own or a member of their family ... it means that the person can settle down and focus on providing the care needed. The child's parents can provide the emotional hysteria.

Seconds count ... but getting hit by a train didn't speed up the response time nor help save this child's life. The emotional decision to shave a few seconds off by not waiting to see if the tracks were clear made the situation worse for the community. It is a big picture perspective.

Don't get me started on "second responders". A few years ago I was nearly hit by an officer driving what was probably 60 in a 35 (his speed could have been higher, blurs are hard to estimate). I followed him (at legal speeds) and found him stopped about a mile down the road where he was one of at least eight cars responding to a single car that had stopped for the police. Not a chase situation - a traffic stop. In another city an officer was killed when two police cars collided at a traffic light - it was never determined who had a green light. Neither officer made it home that night, one is now on the memorial wall. They were additional officers responding to a foot chase.

Let's be careful out there.

As for the non-EMS/first responders reading along, we can all do our part by keeping the big picture in mind. Chasing a "once in a lifetime" steam train? Make sure that it isn't your final chase. Speed limits, traffic lights and especially grade crossing warnings continue to apply. Losing "the perfect shot" is better than losing your life.

John_Perkowski
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by John_Perkowski » Thu May 23, 2019 2:36 pm

First, the good news: Other responders got to and took care of the baby.

Second, there was a second phone cam running...

https://youtu.be/lejV6pzKhAk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Wayside
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by Wayside » Thu May 23, 2019 3:28 pm

This reminds me of the tragic event on NYC main at Oneida, NY in 1963. Same thing happened -- they waited for the first train to clear then pulled in front of the second. They weren't as fortunate as the Texan. Old heads talked about the sad Oneida story years later.

https://www.fireengineering.com/article ... hters.html

The pumper, followed by Truck No. 1, was en route to a garage fire and was driven by Captain Edward C. MeCulley, 34, a veteran of 12 years service. He was filling in for the regular driver who was on his day off. Riding on the seat was Fire Fighter Paavo J. Siivonen, 30, appointed a permanent fireman only five days previously. Regularly assigned to Engine No. 2, he was filling in at central station on the night of the accident.


Note that there is a subscription wall for the complete article. The first time I accessed the story it was not so. My apologies. There were a couple of pictures that accompanied the piece.
We don't know what we don't know.

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BandA
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by BandA » Fri May 24, 2019 1:28 am

The 1963 Fire Engineering article only talks about one train, a "crack" passenger train. Says the fire engine driver intended to stop but swerved to avoid a car stopped at the crossing. Ironically, track was being relocated in 1965 to eliminate all 5 grade crossings.

There is an NTSB report, and the Fire Engineering article contains two photos from Onieda Daily Dispatch by Jerry Monroe.

My dad subscribed to Fire Engineering as a volunteer firefighter, and it was an excellent magazine from the late 60s/early 70s issues I've read. (I still have crates of sadly moldy issues). Those volunteers were better trained and were able to out-pump the full-time firefighters!!

ConstanceR46
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by ConstanceR46 » Sun May 26, 2019 2:27 pm

Where's all the people calling the cops idiots, stupid, or anything else they throw at non-cops who get hit by trains at crossings?

Or is it only sad when it's LEOs, and not when it's civilians.

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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by tree68 » Tue May 28, 2019 4:14 pm

A similar incident happened about 40 years ago just across the River near Cardinal, ON, when five firefighters were killed under almost exactly the same circumstances.

https://www.firefighterclosecalls.com/s ... -by-train/

They've had so many close calls (and worse) with pedestrians at stations in the Chicago area that they've had to install special alerting devices to warn of oncoming trains.
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sdmuleman
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by sdmuleman » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:43 pm

TrainDetainer wrote:but thinking you're 'above the law', trying to be the hero, and acting stupidly has consequences
Presumptuous much? You're sure they were trying to act like some kind of hero and solely thinking of themselves here? Not maybe thinking of a child in the process of dying and hoping they can get their in time to save his/her life? Perhaps they exercised poor judgement here, but calling it out like that is a pretty pathetic statement to me.

I'm willing to bet that if it was you or your family needing emergency medical assistance you'd probably be a bit less thrilled that responders were delayed for 10 minute because they waiting for the train........

Not saying that they should always disregard crossing guards, but at the same time there's an appropriate time and place when certain levels of risk are justified. I would submit that active emergency medical response is a situation where maybe *some* greater amount of risk is acceptable. Bit of a different situation than the soccer mom who just has to make her salon appointment on time. In this case clearly it was the wrong decision, and I've no doubt there's been plently of close calls, but I'm also sure there's been many more cases where an extra 5-10 min delay waiting for a train to clear would have made the difference between life and death for a patient.

Point being, first responders are probably the only case where disregarding crossing guard *may* be acceptable. Very different situation than the typical idiot who does it.

justalurker66
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by justalurker66 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:52 pm

sdmuleman wrote:I'm willing to bet that if it was you or your family needing emergency medical assistance you'd probably be a bit less thrilled that responders were delayed for 10 minute because they waiting for the train........
I'd be less thrilled if first responders didn't show because they were injured or killed on their way to the scene or on the way to the hospital after picking up the family member.
Big picture: How did getting hit by a train help this child survive? All it did was create a second location where EMS response was needed.

And if you are trying to play an emotional wildcard then ask, "how would you feel if EMS injured or killed your family member while they were responding to an emergency".
sdmuleman wrote:Not saying that they should always disregard crossing guards, but at the same time there's an appropriate time and place when certain levels of risk are justified. . . .
Point being, first responders are probably the only case where disregarding crossing guard *may* be acceptable. Very different situation than the typical idiot who does it.
The answer to the issue of a train blocking the path was to dispatch someone else who could get there faster. The impulsive actions of the officers in this case led to that solution being the only answer for the child - someone else had to go to the original call while additional resources were spent on the second incident.

"A certain level of risk" implies that there is a line beyond legal and safe driving that you would accept. I believe many would accept "beyond legal" ... or have exceptions into the law to make it legal for EMS to violate normal traffic laws during a Code 3 response. Speed limits, left of center, passing zones, stop signs, traffic lights - strict obedience to these rules would slow response. But "a certain level of risk" should never include "beyond safe". A professionally trained driver may be able to drive safely beyond the normal standards - but they should NEVER put their lives and the lives of people in their communities in danger. 55 in a 35 is not safe ... 70 in a 35 should lead to murder or attempted murder charges. Left of center when cresting a hill is Russian roulette. Running stop signs and traffic lights without slowing to avoid an accident at each intersection is foolish. "A certain level of risk" should never include potentially killing yourself or others.

Think big picture. How does it help a child or family member if EMS kills or injures others on the way to your incident or on the way to the hospital? How does it help if your first responders do not show because they were in an avoidable accident? That is the bottom line.

justalurker66
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by justalurker66 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:32 pm

Sigh ....
https://www.wsaz.com/content/news/Polic ... 35571.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"During the chase, the driver of the car officers were after, drove up on to train tracks near Danner Road. According to dispatchers, South Charleston officers got out of the cruiser and ran after the suspects."

The train hit the police cruiser.
cruiser+vs+train190602.jpg
The train wins again. Perhaps the officers thought the train would stop for the police car?
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BandA
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Re: ADMIN NOTE: Grade Crossing Safety

Post by BandA » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:23 pm

She was charged with what, destruction of the police cruiser? At least she knew enough not to park on the railroad tracks!

EDIT: https://wchstv.com/news/local/two-detai ... on-pursuit
Carrino is charged with fleeing with reckless indifference.
http://www.wvlegislature.gov/wvcode/cha ... section=17
(f) A person who intentionally flees or attempts to flee in a vehicle from a law-enforcement officer, probation officer or parole officer acting in his or her official capacity after the officer has given a clear visual or audible signal directing the person to stop, and who operates the vehicle in a manner showing a reckless indifference to the safety of others, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000 and shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility not less than one nor more than five years.
She wasn't recklessly endangering the police officers who drove onto the railroad track and parked!! She was endangering her passengers and the crew of the freight train. A year in prison minimum does seem excessive though, even if she has a previous record.

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