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Fatal Accident: One man dies in train versus truck collision on Meridian Street

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 1:54 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2021 at 9:48 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A deadly collision happened at the intersection of Pratt Avenue and the railroad tracks near Meridian Street on Thursday.

Madison County Coroner Dr. Tyler Berryhill identified the victim as 36-year-old Clinton Avans.

WAFF is told ALDOT selected the exact spot of the crash for improvements. The City Council actually approved a contract on March 11 with the State to proceed on these improvements.

The state will pay 90 percent and taxpayers are responsible for 10 percent of the improvement costs.

Communication Director for the City of Huntsville, Kelly Schrimsher says ALDOT has selected the Pratt Avenue, Meridian Street crossing for improvements, and the City Council approved a contract on March 11 with the State to proceed.

The Federal Highway Administration is the entity that monitors accidents at Railroad crossings. The FHA’s Section 130 program also provides money to States to make safety improvements at crossings.

WAFF was able to watch security footage of the accident from a local business. We were asked not to air the footage by police while they investigate. But, the chilling video captures the moments the train and truck collided, and it shows the train push the truck a few yards down.

One question many were wondering, why does that crossing not have a barrier? Well, according to the Highway-Rail Crossing Handbook it all has to do with the visibility a driver has of a train when approaching a crossing.

Executive Director of the Alabama Operation Lifesaver, Nancy Hudson says Alabama is one of the worst in the country for car versus train collisions and there is work to be done to fix the issue.

“We are number seven in the country for vehicle-train collisions. That was 86 crashes last year. We still have a lot of work to do. Alabama has a lot of tracks. We have almost 4000 miles of track. Over 6000 public and private crossings. We drive. Southerners drive a lot. The two don’t mix well,” says Hudson.

You can review the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Collisions - Top 15 States here.

Hudson says in a state like Alabama, where there are so many miles of track, everyone should take the approach that where there is a track there is a train.

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