PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s not too often the general public sees a railroad crossing without barriers. The Parkwood Estates community in Plant City said they do a lot and it’s a safety hazard.
One of the areas of concern is at Jim Lefler Circle and US-92. There is no barrier there and six people were killed in a crash with a train on Saturday night.
A 9-year-old, two 17-year-olds, a young adult, and two adults all died as a result of the crash and a rollover. A 23-year-old is still fighting for his life at a nearby hospital, according to the latest report from authorities.
They were apparently on their way to celebrate a birthday.
“These people got up probably on Saturday morning, went shopping for the party, got ready to go, and that’s the last time that their family members seen them,” Carl Reddick, a Parkwood Estates Maintenance Leader said.
News Channel 8 talked to a rail safety expert to find out why there aren’t barriers to train tracks in many areas down US 92 in Plant City.
“It’s not a public thoroughfare road,” Michael Callanan said. “It’s just a road to get to the house and therefore it’s not required to have those warning devices there since it’s privately owned.”
Many people in the Parkwood Estates community said it was only a matter of time until tragedy struck again.
“I know four years ago there was an incident when a semi was hit and a young man was killed,” Parkwood Estates Community Manager Mayra Martinez said.
Behind the tracks is an event space.
“They need to have more caution because people are over there partying, and with partying, they may be drinking, they may be having fun they’re not going to be cautious and they’re not going to see a fast train coming.”
Carl Reddick has worked in the Parkwood Estates for 32 years. He said it’s an issue that needs to be addressed now.
“Make sure, be careful when you’re out on the road, and make sure you say goodbye to your family because you never know.”
The event space owners behind the tracks did not want to speak on the matter right now.
A family member of the victims has started a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses.