DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — The Midland City train and car crash that sent one woman to the hospital Wednesday is not the only accident that has occurred at that same railroad crossing.
Michelle Edwards of Midland City was driving through the 5th Street and Michigan Avenue intersection when she drove into an oncoming train.
This on top of four other train and car collisions that happened recently are the reasons why officials and neighbors are trying to make this particular railroad crossing safer.
Janet Winham Grizzle has been living right across the street from the railroad crossing on 5th Street and Michigan Avenue in Midland City since the late 50s. She recalls the intersection always being dangerous.
“We have seen a lot,” Grizzle said. “Actually, people do not obey the traffic laws. They fly through here and they have their music turned up so loud, maybe talking on the phone or whatever.”
Even though the cause of Wednesday’s car and train collision is unknown and still under investigation. Grizzle is fed up witnessing these preventable accidents.
“I just can’t understand why you can’t see the train, it’s an elevated track,” Grizzle said. “I’ve been here for 60 something years, go slower, obey the city speed limits.”
Edwards, who was behind the wheel of a pick-up truck, is in stable condition at Southeast Health, where she is recovering from the accident.
In December, a Dale County man was taken to Flower’s Hospital after a train struck his car that was driving over the tracks. His accident happened at the exact intersection, dense fog was the cause of that collision.
Law enforcement highly recommends that to steer clear of a possible accident, people avoid that crossing altogether and use the 3rd Street and Michigan Avenue intersection to cross the rails, which is safer.
“There is an incline coming up to the train tracks coming up on both sides of the road here on 5th and Midland Michigan (Street),” Chief Jimmy Singleton of the Midland City Police Department said. “There are yield signs, but we have no actual bars that lay down for the train tracks.”
Singleton has been trying to get automatic block signaling and warning lights at the railroad crossing but a survey would have to be conducted first to bring these changes. Which he said could take 2-years or more. That’s why he plans to reach out to the Midland City City Council, and state officials to see what could be done sooner.
“We need some help,” Chief Singleton said. “We need something done to this intersection. We don’t need to see anyone else get hurt here.”
Law enforcement wants to remind any drivers passing through that particular intersection, or any railroad crossing, to remain vigilant of any on-coming trains. It’s important to look both ways before making your way across the tracks.