The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

December 17, 2013

Fatal crash raises questions about safety of Netcher Road crossing

Crash survivor remains in intensive care at Erie hospital

DENMARK TOWNSHIP — Two days after a Norfolk and Southern train collided with a truck and trailer on Netcher Road, killing 18-year-old Alva Robert Corron and critically injuring his cousin, Brent Corron, 20, questions are being raised about the safety of the railroad crossing.

“The Angels on Track Foundation has received calls regarding the Netcher Road railroad crossing, calling for action because it is a dangerous crossing,” said Vicky L. Moore, trustee/founder of The Angels on Track Foundation, Salineville, Ohio.

Angels on Track supports and promotes the safety of highway vehicular traffic and pedestrians around railroad grade crossings in Ohio, and develops programs designed to provide public education to increase awareness of railroad grade crossing safety.

The railroad crossing at Netcher Road has no lights, no gates and it’s in a partially wooded area on what the Public Utilities Commission describes as “a farm road intersection,” according to its identification report of the site.

Moore said the “farm road” description means there is very little traffic on the road and it may be difficult to get Norfolk and Southern to improve the crossing.

Two standard, wooden, crossbuck signs now mark the crossing that bears 16 trains every day, while an average of 96 vehicles travel over the tracks every day, according to the Public Utilities Commission and the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

In addition, the crossing sits at a 60 to 90 degree angle, according to the report.

Brent Corron, who was the driver in Saturday’s truck versus train accident, couldn’t get the truck and trailer to stop in the snow, slid into the path of the train and was struck on the passenger’s side where Corron’s cousin, Alva Corron, was sitting, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol reports.

Alva Corron was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office.

Brent Corron remains hospitalized in the trauma and intensive care unit at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, officials said.

The Ohio Revised Code says the owner of the railroad is responsible for maintaining the visibility, including the removal of trees and vegetation, at the intersection for a distance of 600 feet from the roadway.

In 2004, on the same railroad tracks but at the Tower Road crossing in Dorset Township, two teenagers were killed in an ATV crash. Noah Addair, 14, and Caleb Weldy, 13, both of Dorset Township, were discovered down an embankment near the railroad tracks. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

At the time of the crash, only standard, wooden, crossbuck signs marked the Dorset crossing. After that accident, lights and gates were installed to upgrade it.

Calls to Norfolk and Southern at its regional office in Pittsburgh have not been returned.

The crash happened at 11:40 a.m. and traffic was blocked on Netcher Road for several hours.

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