PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s been a difficult week in Plant City, following the deaths of six family members at a private rail crossing.
A train slammed into their SUV, as they headed to a Quinceañera at an event venue. A seventh person in that vehicle continues to fight for his life.
This isn’t the first death at the same crossing. On February 4, 2021, Jasmine Ford was killed at the crossing when the Amazon delivery truck she was driving was hit by an Amtrak Train.
Ashley Ford says her sister, Jasmine, was working to support her children at the time of the accident.
“It’s devastating, because three kids lost their mom and nothing can bring her back,” Ford said.
Ashley Ford said she could not believe it when she heard six more people were killed this week at the same crossing.
“All I could do was cry because, six more people, for what? A sign, a gate, a light? One simple change to that intersection, so, it hurts,” Ford said.
The attorney for the Ford family says he believes the crossing is dangerous for several reasons.
“It’s a billion dollar company. How come they didn’t put up lights? How come they didn’t put up arms?” said attorney Mark Stallworth. “This was a contributing factor, as well as this is an area that is full of and flanked by vegetation.”
He said the lack of maintenance and the vegetation at the crossing makes it difficult to see and hear an approaching train.
“I was astounded. I mean, it was a point where we recognized that a lot should have been done, and nothing was done,” Stallworth said.
The rail line is maintained by CSX. A spokesman commented earlier in the week that it is up to local authorities to decide what safety measures are needed at rail crossings. The spokesman did not respond to an email before publication, asking about measures taken after the Ford accident.
Ashley Ford believes if changes had been made after her sister’s death, it could have saved lives.
“We are losing people for only one reason, that can be changed in the blink of an eye,” said Ford.