Railroad safety concerns after multiple collisions

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2023 at 1:10 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A couple weeks ago in Bradenton, a woman was trying to drive her car across railroad tracks at 25th Street West and Bayshore Road when she was struck by a train. She suffered from serious injuries from the crash.

More recently, six people were killed after driving their SUV into the path of a train in Plant City. There is one survivor still fighting for his life in the hospital.

The commonality between these two collisions is not only that they were both on train tracks, but also that both railroad entrances had no gates or flashing lights to warn oncoming traffic. Only signs.

Lori Cummings lost her son a year ago after he walked through the railroad at 25th Street West and Bayshore Road.

“He was walking across, looking at his cell phone, and the train hit him, he didn’t hear the horn,” said Lori.

She warns others about how dangerous this railroad is because of the lack of safety precautions posted there.

“When you come across this intersection take your time. Look both ways before you cross, because you won’t know if the train is coming,” she warned.

ABC7′s Sophia Vitello spoke with Senior Trooper Kenneth Watson from the Florida Highway Patrol about the lack of railway protection at some train tracks.

“The bottom line is we cannot have those signals and crossing markings down the entire track,” said Watson. “Paying attention, having that good observational skillset will keep everyone safe.”

Lori routinely checks on the memorial she made for her son by the tracks. She says sometimes when she is tending to it, she can’t even hear that the train is there.