UPDATE: Still no improvements to deadly Dade County railroad crossing
UPDATE: Blue and white flowers and a white cross at a railroad crossing mark where Alvin Younts spent his final moments.
The 80 year old, who went by Gayle, was killed last year when the truck he was driving was hit by a train.
It was the first deadly crash at the Highway 11 and Carroll Road intersection, but five others have collided with a train in the same spot before, including Sheila Williams.
“Half the time, they won’t blow [their horn] and if they do blow [their horn], you’re almost right on this crossing before you even hear them,” she said.
Now nearly a year and a half after Gayle’s death, there’s still no visual or audio warning of an oncoming train.
The only change, this ‘No Parking’ sign.
Gayle’s daughter Dawn worries another family will suffer the same tragedy.
“There’s so many children that live back in this lane and now some of them are even driving, they’re older now, but they’re still young. But I just worry about them,” Dawn said.
Dade County commissioners tell Channel 3 they’ve secured the $300,000 worth of federal funds to make this intersection safer. The responsibility now lies on Norfolk Southern to use it.
Norfolk Southern wasn’t able to give Channel 3 an update on improvements for this intersection, but did explain the process is complex involving engineers and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Our calls to GDOT went unreturned.
Neighbors like Charlotte Sims say they’ve seen the railroad company make improvements to the track but not to the intersection’s safety.
“It just like, take care of the train. They’re the ones that are making us the money. It’s frustrating but who do you call? How do you fight a big corporation like that?” she said.
Coming back to the place where her dad was killed is tough. But for Dawn, if it means saving a life, it’s worth it.
“I want answers as to why the work hasn’t been done yet. Because school has started back and this should have already been done before school started.”
Dawn has a special message for all of those who tried to help her dad that terrible day: A heartfelt ‘thank you.’
This is a story we’re going to continue to follow and will be sure to bring you updates.
WILDWOOD, GA (WRCB) - A dangerous railroad crossing in Dade County is finally getting the attention local residents have hoped for, for decades. The crossing at Highway 11 and Carroll Road has been the scene of several train versus car crashes and recently an elderly man lost his life there.
The Georgia Department of Transportation and federal government have agreed to pay around $250,000 to install flashing lights and electronic arms to the crossing. They'll meet with Dade County officials in a few weeks to discuss doing it to some other areas as well. Residents are thankful, but say it's something that should've happened before a life was lost.
"I told them, I said, it's going to take somebody getting killed up there before they do something about it and sure enough, it did," Lee Williams said.
Lee Williams is among dozens of homeowners that have no choice but to cross over the railroads tracks at Highway 11 and Carroll Road anytime they leave their houses.
"Due to the hill, the slope, you have to pull almost up to the track itself to look to the right," Carroll Road resident Charlotte Sims said.
There's no visual or audio warning of an oncoming train, just a sign marking the tracks, and now a memorial, where 80-year-old Alvin Gayle Yount died in April. He didn't realize a train was coming toward his truck, or that another driver was trying to point it out to him.
"He thought everybody was waving at him and he was waiving back and he was a real good fellow though," Williams said.
It was the first deadly crash there, but five others have collided with a train in the same spot before, including Williams' wife. Others recount close calls.
"I pull up and I don't hear nothing and shoot across that track and one morning I looked to my left and there was a train and it scared me," Sims said.
Dade County officials agree railroad crossings should have arms that stop traffic, but it's not entirely up to them. The federal and state government pays for it, and the railroad company has to maintain it. Those parties have agreed to make the improvements at Carroll Road in 2015.
"It's sad to say but until this death occurred, they really got on board with it," Dade County Executive Ted Rumley said.
County leaders are pushing for safety upgrades to more crossings, but that's still in the works.
"Any county or state road should have those. I think you shouldn't even have a crossing without those now," Rumley said.
The other Dade County crossings being considered for safety improvements are on Steele Road, Sarah Chapel Road and Harris Street. In order to get those, they may have to lose another crossing altogether. A date to discuss it has not been set yet, but will likely be in August.