Savannah Drivers Pass Through Railroad Arms - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Savannah Drivers Pass Through Railroad Arms

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Metro Police want to remind everyone it is never okay to cross railroad tracks when the gates are down.  News 3 watched at least half a dozen drivers ignore that law Monday morning at the railroad tracks over Louisville Rd near Telfair Rd. 

One after another, our cameras watched as cars ignored the gates.  Maybe the most impressive sight was an 18 wheeler that actually hit the cross bar trying to get through.  This all happened while a train was headed their way. 

"Crossing the train tracks is a very dangerous activity.  It's against the law," said Lt. Greg Mitchell with Metro P.D.'s traffic unit.

Lt. Mitchell says there is no excuse to ever cross when the gate is down, even though the train was moving very slowly and it eventually turned around, never reaching the road.  News 3 watched as it took hardly 15 minutes before cars started ignoring the crossing gate.   

"It may appear to be slow moving with the naked eye, but it could be moving a lot faster than you estimate. It's not worth the risk," Lt. Mitchell said. 

CSX spokeswoman Kristin Seay says it's important to remember that trains can't stop very quickly.  If a train is moving at 55 miles per hour, it will generally take up to 18 football fields to come to a complete stop. 

In August, two women were killed and two more people injured on Gulfstream Rd when the driver of an SUV ignored the crossing gate.  When they tried to go around, the vehicle was thrown from the tracks. 

Lt. Mitchell says their excuse was probably the same as a lot of these drivers: They were in a hurry. 

"That's still not an excuse.  If they take that chance, if they're in a rush, the danger is too much of a risk," he said. 

One of those drivers Monday morning was pulled over by Metro Police.  Any driver who is caught can be punished by up a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. 

.....

On Monday morning News 3 Photojournalist Chris Murray was stopped at the railroad crossing on Louisville Road in Savannah, waiting for an oncoming train.

While the arms were down and the light's were flashing the oncoming train stopped, reversed and turned around. While the arms were down and the lights still on, an 18-wheeler passed through the arms. Several cars followed.

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