It is extremely important to be familiar with basic railroad safety precautions – both to keep you from harm on foot and in your car or truck. Just this week in Hardeeville, South Carolina, four people were killed when the driver of the vehicle attempted to drive around the safety mast arm and beat the train.
Hardeeville residents 27-year-old Nancy Ratliff, 33-year-old Jason Scott, 35-year-old Melissa Thomas, and 12-year-old Taylor Arnsdorff were driving east on South Carolina 46 just before nine at night when it came into the path of Palmetto Amtrak passenger train number 89 struck the vehicle going 79 miles per hour. The train applied its emergency brake, but the vehicle was dragged almost a mile and the car was a twisted wreck of metal. All four people were killed and had to be extracted from the vehicle although all were wearing their seat belts.
The train was traveling south to Savannah from Charleston with two dozen passengers and train employees. No one on the train was injured. Investigators said that the car had attempted to beat the train over the tracks. The relationship between the four passengers is unclear, though the Hardeeville Fire Department did say that in the small community, some of the responders knew the SC train accident victims.
“It’s sensitive,” Hardeeville Fire Chief Dan Morgan said. “We were there within a minute of the accident and the train had pushed the vehicle almost a mile down the tracks. We had some access issues.”
The Hardeeville Police Department, the South Carolina Highway Patrol’s investigation team, Amtrak, and CSX will investigate the deadly SC train accident accident.