A Butler County Commissioner is hoping to install safeguards at an Evans City railroad crossing where a two people were killed as a result of a collision and 10 others injured when a train hit their bus.
“That is a bad crossing. You don't have a lot of sight either way,” Bill McCarrier, Butler County commissioners' chairman, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “In an ideal world, I'd like to see a gate at every rail crossing.”
Frank Schaffner was driving the Butler Area Rural Transit bus carrying elderly and mentally challenged people on a foggy April 26 morning.
Evans City police said Schaffner stopped for an unknown reason on the tracks at the Maple Avenue intersection, which does not have crossing gates or warning lights guarding the tracks.
The freight train blew its horn before striking the bus broadside, spinning it around, police said. Schaffner was found with pills that did not match his prescription and toxicology reports on his blood are still pending.
According to the Trib, the crossing is among 205 statewide without safeguards, which PennDOT says account for less than 6 percent of the state's 3,518 public rail crossings.
Erin Waters-Trasatt, a PennDOT spokeswoman, told the Trib that only two trains cross Maple Avenue each day, and police said as few as 10 vehicles cross per day.
The state Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said installing a gated crossing with lights costs $150,000 to $175,000 and funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Evans City Mayor Dean Zinkhan told the newspaper no changes are under way for the Maple Avenue crossing, though he didn't rule out requesting a gate or some other type of warning device.
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