Safety questioned at Copiah Co. RR crossing - - Jackson, MS

Safety questioned at Copiah Co. RR crossing

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By Bert Case - bio | email

COPIAH COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - A deadly collision between an SUV and train at a rural Copiah County railroad crossing has once again raised concerns about safety. 

A Canton man was killed Sunday afternoon where the tracks cross Hartley Lane near County Line Road which is about two miles north of Crystal Springs. 

The Hartley Lane crossing, just like every other of the over 2,600 railroad grade crossings with roads in the state, gets ranked each year on various factors that determine just how dangerous it is.  

The guidelines come from the Federal Railroad Administration. While the state only gets just over $3 million dollars a year for the $200,000 cross arms, lights and bells at crossings, the Mississippi Department of Transportation says cost is not the determining factor in which crossings get them.  

Robby Burt is the state's expert on railroad crossings with MDOT. "That crossing does not qualify, did not rank high enough for gates and lights at this time." 

An eyewitness to Sunday's fatal crash that killed her 56-year-old second cousin, Alonzo Minton of Canton, says something more than a sign is needed at the crossing, which is in her front yard.  

Seventy-four year old Betty Williams, said, "I think a person's life is more high than just a train coming down through there and making all the money, and killing people. That's what I think. I can't keep taking it people dying like that for no reason." 

Sheriff Harold Jones of Copiah County says he has been trying for years to get cross arms installed at the crossing. There was a similar crash involving a garbage truck in May of 2008 at the same crossing.  Nobody was killed. 

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