Johnson County Sheriff’s Office responds after three train crashes in less than two weeks

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OLATHE, Kan. — In the last 10 days, Johnson County Sheriff deputies have responded to three train crashes, including two fatal collisions that killed men outside of Gardner and De Soto.

The latest collision happened Thursday morning when a train hit a truck parked on railroad tracks near 175th Street and Woodland Road in Spring Hill.

 Officers said the driver was not inside the vehicle at the time of the crash. 

“It’s actually very uncommon for us. Typically we don’t even have three a year, so to have three a week is very rare for us,” Sergeant Robert Huff said. 

Huff said traffic equipment near the crash sites have been evaluated.

“We haven’t had any malfunction of any of the safety equipment that I know of,” Huff said.

Huff said the three crashes are unrelated, but there are common safety precautions drivers should take when crossing railroad tracks. 

“It is illegal to cross when the safety arms are down or a warning is going off; whether it be flashing lights or bells and whistles. Never cross a train track, even if you see a train stopped on the railroad tracks,” Huff said. 

Drivers should try to stop at least 50 to 100 feet behind railroad tracks and give themselves enough time to look both ways before moving forward after the safety arm lifts. 

If a vehicle is stalled on the tracks, call 911 right away. 

 “The main thing is just be aware of your surroundings at all times, and follow all rules of the roadway,” Huff said. 

Officials said on average the fine for going around a railroad crossing arm is $195 plus court costs. 

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