The Associated Press (AP) reported on December 20 that Everett "Barney" Mosher, 87, and his wife, Mary, 84, were traveling Saturday morning along School Street in Randolph, Vermont when they collided with a southbound Amtrak Vermonter train.
According to officials, the train was traveling within its 59 mph mandated speed limit. Bill Huntley, who lives near the tracks, told AP that the train hit the rear of the Mosher vehicle. If the car had progressed another two feet along the road, Huntley said, the train would have missed it entirely.
When Huntley heard the crash, he looked out and saw smoke and a spray of snow. He ran over to the car to try to help the victims, who appeared to be unconscious. Rescue workers had to remove the couple from the twisted wreckage.
The driver of the car was flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he passed away later that day. His wife Mary was pronounced dead on arrival at Gifford Hospital in Randolph.
Would the addition of a safety barrier have averted the tragedy?
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"At this point, I can find no evidence of an equipment malfunction," Simpson told AP.
It is not known why there was no physical barrier or gate installed at the intersection—a safety measure that could very well have prevented the accident.
AP reported that none of the 146 passengers or seven crew aboard the Amtrak commuter train were injured as a result of the car crash.