MELBOURNE, Fla. — The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on their investigation into a crash in Melbourne involving a Brightline train and a pickup truck.
The crash happened just before 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 12 on the rail crossing near the intersection of W H Jackson Street and South Harbor City Blvd.
According to the NTSB, a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche approached the railroad grade crossing as the flashing lights and bells were already activated and the crossing gates were lowered.
Investigators say the truck drove around the lowered gate and entered the crossing just as a southbound Brightline train traveling at 78 miles per hour entered the crossing and collided with it.
Both the driver and a passenger in the truck died from the crash.
As part of their review of the Jan. 12 incident, NTSB investigators say they gathered information about a crash that occurred just two days earlier at the same crossing.
According to the NTSB, on Jan. 10 at 2 p.m., a 2008 Honda Element SUV collided with the lead car of a northbound Brightline train that was traveling at approximately 68 miles per hour.
Investigators say the driver of the SUV approached the grade crossing and actually maneuvered around another car that was already stopped behind the lowered gate. According to the NTSB, the SUV drove around the gate, entered the crossing, and collided with the front of the moving train.
The driver of the SUV died in the crash and three passengers were hospitalized with serious injures.
The Jan. 12 incident remains under investigation “with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar events,” an NTSB statement said.
Melbourne city leaders have implemented additional safety measures for all their railroad crossings since the crashes occurred.
Officials say they will soon install red light cameras at the crossings to ticket those who go around crossing arms.
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