Many of the railroad crossings throughout Louisiana do not have gates, flashing lights or bells. This makes these crossings particularly dangerous, especially if the only warning drivers receive is a crossing sign and/or a stop sign. Failure to exercise extra caution at these crossings could result in a catastrophic car wreck.
Just off Louisiana 5, a private lease road is crossed by train tracks. There is only a stop sign and crossing sign at this location, and it was recently the site of an accident involving a Union Pacific freight train and a pickup truck. The freight train was heading south as the pickup truck was heading east. The pickup somehow failed to yield the right-of-way to the train and was struck by it.
The impact shoved the pickup off the tracks. When troopers with the Louisiana State Police arrived at the scene, they discovered the driver and one passenger in the truck dead. The third occupant was taken to an area hospital, where he was in critical condition until he succumbed to his injuries early the next morning. Troopers do not believe that the pickup driver was impaired, but a toxicology sample is being analyzed as part of the ongoing investigation.
The families of the victims involved in this train vs. car wreck may file wrongful death claims against the party or parties thought to be responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. It remains to be seen if a claim against the railroad is appropriate under the circumstances of the accident, though it would appear that the estates of the two deceased passengers have a separate right to seek financial accountability fro the estate of the pickup driver. Documenting for the court that the negligence of another led to their deaths could result in an award of damages. Any financial restitution received could defray the costs associated with the sudden death of a family member.