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Column:The Way I See It

Rebecca Burk Ellis / L’Observateur / June 1, 1998

Wednesday morning I was driving down Main Street to get to work, and I have to admit I was a few minutes late.

As I turned off Airline Highway and approached the railroad tracks I saw the lights were flashing, warning a train was nearby. I was tempted tospeed up and go over the tracks, but I reminded myself that it would be better to be a few more minutes late for work than to end up in some hospital room or possibly even a box in a funeral home.

So I slowed down and as I neared the tracks the crossbars came down. Ilooked down the track and to my right the train was about 100 feet away.

Enough time to swerve around the bars and get across.

But what if my tire got caught on the tracks? What if my car decided that moment was a good time to quit running? What if, what if? So I sat and watched the train get closer. As it got closer one woman in aminivan driving in the opposite direction I was headed decided to forget about all of the “what if’s.” She swerved around the crossbars and I heldmy breath, hoping I or any other reporter would not have to cover another train-car fatality.

As she crossed the tracks, I looked into her car and saw not only a youngster in back, but a baby in a car seat in the front. I wasflabbergasted and angry that someone would put their children in jeopardy like that.

There have been way too many fatalities involving cars and trains lately because people obviously think they can beat the train or just don’t even bother to look. And it’s such an easy thing to do. Just slow down and look.If you see a train it’s quite easy – just stop.

As a community let’s cut these accidents down to zero and be smart and protect ourselves and especially our children around the tracks.

Rebecca Burk Ellis is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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