Officials evaluating railroad crossing following accidents

Two accidents in two straight days and now people in one Eastern Kentucky County are looking to officials for help.

Officials say a blind spot and a lack of safety equipment at a railroad crossing in Lee County led to the accidents earlier this week. Now officials are doing what they can to make the spot safer.

Lee County’s Judge Executive and road foreman were out surveying the site today to figure out how they can help. The man who rescued the victims from both accidents says this crossing is dangerous the way it is now and says enough is enough.

Donnie Smith says something has got to change.

Smith says, “Two tragedies in the same week. Most of the time it never happens in the same year, but two in two days, that's uncalled for.”

Smith witnessed and took part in the rescue for drivers of two separate accidents after trains struck their cars on c-drake road in Tallega this week.

“It’s hard to see this two days in a row,” Smith says. “You can only stand so much my nerves can’t take anymore.”

Lee County Judge Executive Steve Mays says he is investigating options on how, or if, a crossing gate can be put in place at the tracks.

“I'll work with the county attorney and the railroad to see what the county can do to resolve the situation and make sure it does not happen again,” Mays says.

The county's road foreman agrees with Mays.

He says the road leading up to the tracks is very dangerous.

“I know it's a bad situation but we feel for the people that have been hurt,” Ferrell Wise says.

Mays says he sympathizes with the people in his county about the crossing.

“Especially when you have two wrecks with a train hitting two different vehicles in two different days,” Mays says. “So that does bring a concern up.”

Smith says if something isn't done, it's only going to get worse.

“If they'd fix this, there'd be no problems,” Smith says.

And he says a crossing sign cannot come soon enough.

Smith says he sees anywhere between 20 and 30 horse trailers come to the facility and says a crossing gate will help keep them safe and prevent a future accident


A woman is lucky to be alive after her truck is hit by a train Sunday afternoon.

It happened along Highway 52 in Lee County, near the Breathitt County line.

That's where investigators say 25-year-old Elizabeth Back didn't see the oncoming train.

The train hit Back's truck, throwing it into the air and into a ditch.

Rescue crews say she was flown to UK Hospital with injuries.

At last check, Back was listed in fair condition.

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