9 Investigates close calls at Orlando railroad crossing



ORLANDO, Fla. - A local attorney brought video to Channel 9's Kathi Belich that shows a SunRail train passing by a railroad crossing only one second after the crossing arms were fully down.

Belich spoke with Florida Department of Transportation officials who expressed concern about the video.

They said their department regulates timing at crossings differently, but admitted that's too close for comfort.

Officials said they are now looking at the sensors that activate the gates.

Orlando attorney Matt Morgan said he was shocked by the video he shot.

Belich checked the crossing and found that one second after the gates were completely down a SunRail train rolled through the crossing at Central Avenue in downtown Orlando downtown.

"I heard the train horn so I stopped. I looked to my right and the train was coming in close proximity to where I was while the gates were still open," said Morgan.

Morgan said he recorded the train passing through because it was the second time he has seen it happen.

"What were you thinking when you saw that this morning?" Belich asked Morgan.

"I was thinking ifIi would've progressed, and say traffic would have been jammed, I would've been in the middle of the train tracks and the train would have hit me," said Morgan.

FDOT officials said their rule is that there should be at least 20 seconds from the time the lights and bells activate until the train rolls through with the gates all the way down.

Morgan's video does not show whether the crossing met the 20-second rule.

A worker in the area told Belich he saw a near miss at the crossing Thursday.

"As soon as (the train) hit the intersection the arms started coming down. There was a car in the middle of the intersection that had to speed off real quick to avoid a collision," said Damien Gravois.

Morgan said he could have come even closer to a collision than he did today. FDOT officials said the engineer slowed down through the area because he noticed the gates still going down.

Morgan told Belich that he now stops at all railroad crossings and Gravois said he slows down through the problem crossing and always looks both ways.