Signs, road markings among changes coming to site of fatal train crash

Signs, road markings among changes coming to site of fatal train crash
Published: Mar. 27, 2015 at 3:57 AM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2015 at 4:23 AM EDT
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Wayne Gibbs (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Wayne Gibbs (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Councilman Steve Magre (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Councilman Steve Magre (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Under an awning at the historic Buechel Train Depot, residents with questions about the need for change at a railroad crossing gathered Thursday.

One of those residents was Wayne Gibbs, who has lived near the tracks for more than 20 years.

"There's no visual field until you're right on the tracks. You can't look down and say, 'Oh there's a train coming,'" said Gibbs.

The discussion came after a crash between a train and car that resulted in the death of three teenagers, but neighbors said talks about how to make the tracks safer had been going on for years.

[PREVIOUS STORY: 2 JCPS students killed, 2 injured in train collision]

Suk Man Rai, 19, and Chita Chuwan, 16, were killed in the March 14 crash. The driver of the car, Nagin Thapa, 17, died several days later. A fourth teenager, Kismat Mistra, remains hospitalized in stable condition.

It was not until after the tragedy that Councilman Steve Magre learned the tracks had a file created by late Metro Council President Jim King.

"I heard of the tragedy and obviously the first thing I wanted and needed to do is find out the history," Magre said.

Crossing gates had already been approved. The site will get a new railroad crossing sign, which was stolen.

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A tree next to the tracks will be chopped because of its potential to block the view and markings urging people to stop that had been covered by road work will be repainted.

The gates won't be complete until 2016, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

"They are right down on Old Bardstown Road, why weren't they put here too? It doesn't make any sense," another neighbor said.

In the 39 years prior to the teen's crash, there had been six crashes at the crossing, none of which were fatal.

The executive director for KYTC wanted to make it clear that gates are not safety guarantee and that some people still try to drive around them.

A family member of one of the teens who died said were happy to hear changes will be made if they will help others in the future.

Copyright 2015 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.