Tragedy Leads to Hale Center Crossing Decision - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/3/03

Tragedy Leads to Hale Center Crossing Decision

The tragedy of October's train wreck, a collision that pushed a car for a half a mile before coming to a stop, taking the lives of Jean Johnson, her granddaughter Shaterica, and her great-granddaughter Denatzhia, is still a hotbed of discussion six weeks later.

"Everyday at the coffee shop," said TC Clark. He was picking up a book at the library on Main street. Pleased with news that the Texas Railroad Commission is pressing to put up barriers, but lamenting the timing. "Putting them up now is like locking the barn after the horse got out," he said. Especially given the fact that several lives have already been lost at the same crossing.

Why has it taken so long to get something done? "I don't know," said WH Johnson. He's been on the Hale Center city council for three years, lobbying for the poorer side of town, now even more passionately. His mother, Jean, was one of the victims. "I look down there and I know how far it took my mom and I did help get them out of the vehicle and that hurts and its one of those tough things," he said, choking back tears. His mother, he says, was always preaching about the dangers of the unguarded tracks.

Town officials are expected to install temporary stop signs until the major work can be performed next summer.

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