Officials: No plans to add crossing arm at Portsmouth crash site

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 12:51 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 31 at 12:50 PM

Train Hits SUV

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UPDATE 12/31:  City of Portsmouth spokeswoman Dana Woodson said Tuesday city engineers are not convinced there needs to be a crossing arm at Frederick Blvd.

Woodson says Sunday's accident was the only crash at the crossing since 2005. 

Woodson says they review crossings periodically, but not in response to an accident that was a result of "human error." 

City engineers would look at all 20 railroad crossings in the city to determine if any need crossing arms and at this time, there are no plans to do that study, Woodson says. 

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UPDATE 12/30:  The driver of the SUV has been charged with failure to yield, according to Portsmouth Police Detective Misty Holley.

While there is no crossing arm at the Frederick Blvd. crossing, there are flashing lights.

Police have not received complaints from citizens or CSX about drivers speeding across the tracks to beat the train at the crossing. 

Holley said this is the first train-vehicle crash at the Frederick Blvd. crossing.

CSX company officials told 13News Now if VDOT determined the intersection at Frederick Blvd. now needs a crossing arm, CSX will install and maintain the device. 

“We are glad to meet with VDOT at the crossing and talk through options, but ultimately it is their decision. We would recommend concerned citizens contact VDOT,” CSX spokesperson Melanie Cost said. 

13News Now has contacted VDOT and is waiting for a response.

CSX is also investigating how fast the train was going. 

“Many times people don’t realize a train is coming faster than it appears. It can take a mile for a train to stop. We always try to take this chance to urge people to obey the signs and signals, to look both ways when crossing the track, and to always expect a train is coming,” Cost said.

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PORTSMOUTH -- Police said a driver and a child in an SUV were hurt Sunday after the driver tried to beat a CSX train.

The train hit the SUV in the 1800 block of Frederick Boulevard at about 10:30 p.m.

Detective Misty Holley told 13News Now lights on the train were flashing at the time, and the driver admitted he was trying to beat it before the train reached that part of roadway. Several other drivers succeeded in their attempts to beat it.

The driver and child who is younger than 12 went to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

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