Train Wreck Raises Questions About Warning Signals

A fatal train collision Wednesday afternoon killed two members in a family of four.

The crash happened south of Jacksonville on County Road 3304, near Highway 79. Authorities say 32-year old Richard Phillips failed to yield to a Union Pacific train. Richard's wife and his two sons were traveling with him.

Four-year old Jerod Phillips and 32-year old Delaine Phillips were pronounced dead at ETMC-Jacksonville.

Richard Phillips is still listed in critical condition at ETMC in Tyler, while 7-year old Jacob is in good condition at Mother Frances Hospital.

Every two hours someone in America is hit by a train. Texas leads the way nationally for having the most auto-train wrecks.

Officer Randy Vaught says in East Texas most wrecks occur in rural areas.

"Sometimes they're not marked well, as far as having flashing red lights," said Officer Vaught. "And sometimes (when traveling on county roads) people are unfamiliar with the area."

Often the only marker seen on county roads is a black and white railroad warning sign, commonly called a cross buck.

Some East Texans don't think it's enough...especially when intersections are inside the city limits.

"Sometimes you have to save people from themselves," said motorist David Ellison. "You know because a lot of people are in too big of a hurry."

Officer Vaught say unless there's a stop sign posted at the cross bucks, no one is required to stop at the tracks by law.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, flashing lights and bars are only required when a train intersection is in a high traffic area...or in areas where there's high-speed trains, little visibility and a heavy flow of Haz-mat trucks and school buses.