A Fort Lauderdale train accident claimed the lives of two women and left one man critically injured on November 19th when a 325-ton Tri Rail train slammed into a gold Toyota Camry which had stopped on the tracks on Commercial Boulevard.
Forty-four year old Connie Hamblin and her passenger 22 year old Felicia Hatmaker of Tennessee were both ejected from the car and killed according to Fort Lauderdale Police. Another occupant of the Toyota, Eddie Hamblin, also of Tennessee, was transported to North Broward Medical Center in Deerfield Beach in critical condition.
This railroad crossing lies between two very busy intersections — Powerline Road to the west and the southbound I-95 ramps to the east.
Traffic often backs up onto the crossing in both directions when the traffic lights at those intersections turn red.
At least two attempts to address this hazard either were unsuccessful or were never fully implemented.
The Florida Department of Transportation in 2000 tested a concept called a “European X” — a box about the size of a car with an X painted on the roadway just beyond the crossing in each traffic lane. The idea was that if drivers could see the X as they approached the crossing, they would be able to safely cross.
The X markings are no longer on the pavement there and the Miami Herald reported that no one at the FDOT could recall the results of that experiment.
The DOT had also announced plans to install cameras at that crossing and at crossings at McNab Road, Cypress Creek Road, Powerline Road and Prospect Road.
The cameras were designed to send an instant signal to the train operator to slow down if a motorist is stalled. But train operators balked presumably at the idea of cameras preserving evidence of their own negligence.
There have been seven railroad accidents involving automobiles at the Commercial Boulevard Tri-Rail crossing since Tri-Rail began service in 1989. Those accidents resulted in three fatalities and two serious injuries.
All of those accidents involved Tri-Rail trains but one involved an Amtrak train.
The Florida train accident lawyers at Hannon Legal Group are highly experienced in representing the victims and families of transportation accidents in personal injury and wrongful death cases. We encourage anyone who is involved in such an accident or their family members to contact one of our railroad accident lawyers for a free consultation and to discuss the specifics of their case.