CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. (WJTV)– A train crashes into an SUV in Crystal Springs Sunday night at Hartley Lane leaving those who knew them just heartbroken.
People we talked to say their deaths may have been prevented with more safety measures in place.
About 10 years after Daniel Minters lost his brother his cousin has died at the same train crossing.
“I’ve been involved in this situation since 2010 I lost my brother Alonzo at the same crossing and since I’ve been involved with it, it’s been three other deaths,” said Minters. “Lonzo was number 6. With my family that’s out here now we are devastated by the death of Kenya.”
The Copiah County sheriff identified the driver as Lori D. Jackson and the passenger as Kenya Brown Wilson.
A train hit the Lexus SUV. The coroner says they both died at the scene.
There are no crossing arms and that’s what minters is fighting for.
“We’ve dropped the ball as a community,” said Minters. “I dropped the ball as an individual and they dropped the ball as a supervisor.
There shouldn’t be another death down here.”
The coroner doesn’t have an exact number of deaths at this train crossing but says he’s been called to several. Minters is calling on the Copiah County Board of Supervisors once again.
“We going to form a petition and go to the supervisors again,” said Minters. “We going to go there in numbers let them know it’s not just a few that this is bothering but its a family its a community “
A neighbor who lives nearby expresses his anger.
“It makes you angry and mad, but you don’t know who to take it out on because the railroad and the red tape from the government,” said Willie Green.
Family and community members look on astonished at the thought that maybe with crossing arms their lives could’ve been saved.
We reached out to Canadian National Railway for a response, but we haven’t heard back.
Perry Hood, the Copiah County District 3 Supervisor, said the county has no authority to put up gates at that crossing or at any crossing. The process includes the MDOT Rails Division and CN. He says the county is the governing authority at the local level. According to Hood, the county has applied for two or more TIGER grants but weren’t approved. Hood says he even flew to Washington to meet about the grant. They applied under a rural application too where no match was needed but still offered $3 million to match and rail crossings were in the grant.
He offered this statement:
“The Copiah County Board of Supervisors have been working on improving this crossing for some 12-15 years. Even though, as you cross this crossing you can see both ways for a long ways, there apparently is some problem here as there as been too many fatalities. Just last fall, we met with MDOT and CN railroad at the location, and we all have agreed that we will work together and install gates here. Our engineer has done the engineering that we were needed to do and has given them to MDOT, rails division, and once they finish their engineering , it will all be turned over to CN for construction. We understand that there is a 10-12 month wait before construction begins. This is where we are at this moment. In the past, we have installed signs and warnings at this crossing, but obviously, they have been ignored. We are saddened by this last accident and are doing everything within our power to expedite the installation of the gates. I will be contacting Commissioner Simmons and see if we can put a rush on this project. Our hearts and prayers are with all the lives that have been lost here and with their families. We hope to have the gates installed as soon as possible.”