By Chad Frey
One driver who just didn't quite beat the train did beat the odds Monday afternoon in Newton — and the accident put Newton Police plans to the test.
A car and a train collided at about 4 p.m. Monday at First and Ash streets in Newton. The train was stopped, blocking the First Street, Main Street and Broadway crossings until about 4:45 p.m.
"This is the first time since I became chief (in 2001) that we have had a car vs. train accident that blocked that many intersections," said Jim Daily, chief of police for Newton.
Following the accident one person was transported to the hospital. However, Newton Fire/EMS reported no critical injuries following the accident.
Daily said the driver "did not see" the barrier which drops to prevent cars from crossing the tracks. The car was struck by the train as a result, and downtown was split in two for nearly an hour before the train moved again.
"The biggest thing for us was the traffic we had to deal with," Daily said. "We do try and brainstorm for this as much as we can. If we have a derailment and can't move the train for a while, or there is hazardous material on a derailed train, we do have a plan for that."
Nationally 44 percent of train vs. car accidents resulted in fatalities in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 2,087 such crashes in 2013.
The intersection at First and Ash Streets has flashing lights and cross arms which drop when a train is coming and in the intersection.
According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, there are 59 train crossings with only crossbuck signs in Harvey County. There are 107 "at grade" rail crossings in Harvey County.