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11/14/2012 9:33:00 AM
Two horses, dog die in train, horse trailer collision
Photo courtesy YCSOTwo horses died in this trailer after a BNSF train hit it at the Verde Ranch Road crossing in Paulden Sunday morning.
Photo courtesy YCSO
Two horses died in this trailer after a BNSF train hit it at the Verde Ranch Road crossing in Paulden Sunday morning.
Courtesy Photo/YCSOTwo horses and a dog died when this train struck a horse trailer at the railroad crossing in Paulden Sunday.
Courtesy Photo/YCSO
Two horses and a dog died when this train struck a horse trailer at the railroad crossing in Paulden Sunday.
Chino Valley Review

A train collided with a horse trailer in Paulden Sunday, killing two horses and a dog.

Yavapai county Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight E'Develyn said deputies responded at about 7:20 a.m. to the accident on Verde Ranch Road in Paulden and found that a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company freight train had struck a two-stall horse trailer. County animal control officers were already on scene preparing an injured dog for transportation to a local animal hospital. Deputies learned that two horses and another dog were killed in the collision with the train.

D'Evelyn said the driver of the truck pulling the trailer, a 71-year-old Paulden man, told deputies he did not see the train or hear its horn as he crossed the tracks towing the horse trailer. He said the vision from his vehicle was limited because the windows were iced over. Although his truck made it across the tracks, the horse trailer did not and was struck by the train's leading locomotive, D'Evelyn said. The impact dislodged the trailer from the truck hitch, pushing it along the tracks. The driver was not injured and the truck received only minor damage.

The crossing does not have gate controls and uses signage to warn drivers and pedestrians, D'Evelyn said, but the train crew verified they sounded a horn as required before to approaching the crossing. The crew said the truck continued over the tracks despite the horn. Crew members said they initiated an emergency stop system and continued to sound the horn. The truck made it across the tracks, but the horse trailer was still centered over the track.

The train contained three front-end locomotives, more than 80 cars full of grain, and a rear locomotive, D'Evelyn said.

Deputies cited the driver for failure to stop at a railroad crossing. BNSF investigators also arrived at the scene to gather evidence, statements, and recorded data from the locomotive.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Nikole Hahn

The crossing is not dangerous. I have been there and it's wide open. As kind as it is to try to blame someone else, the blame is on the driver. However, the others are right to ask for compassion. Let this man grieve and learn from his mistake. But to blame the railroad or the tracks or the location is ludicrous. My question is: what distracted him from being alert or was he trying to race the train? As far as taking away his license, there are many out there in their twenties who drive far more dangerously, but because of age prejudices we like to be harder on the elderly than the youth. I don't think anything more needs to be said. If this man is smart, he'll be more cautious in the future. Lawyers love situations like this though. Blame the railroad instead of the man. Hopefully, that won't happen.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Cindy Manzione

To "hold on to your pity"... by referring to the loss of this mans beloved animals as "property damage" pretty much lets us all know how compassionate you are for others. I'm so glad you have never made a bad judgement in your life that resulted in a tragedy and I hope you never do.

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Article comment by: Donald Brigner

It is a very sad story. No punishment meted out by the "citizens on patrol" could ever approach the grief and guilt this man must now carry for the rest of his life. I hope that you people out there that have no compassion for a man that made a mistake and paid so very dearly for that mistake are all perfect people. Otherwise, don't look for pity from us as you hit your knees and cradle your losses and weep because you made that split second decision that changed your life forever.

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Article comment by: poor animals

@Cindy Manzione and Sad Tragedy, you are both correct instead of judging we should have sympathy for him and all his family that are suffering from this, i for one retract and ask for his forgiveness for making the comments that i made. We all make mistakes and have to live with them, at least he can say that he took great care of and loved his animals before they were taken from him.

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Article comment by: Hold On To Your Pity

I have no doubt that he loved his animals. I am sure given his choice, he would take it all back. But he can't take it all back those animals are gone, the train crew traumatized, and he himself an emotional wreck. And it all could've been avoided. This was not a result of a vehicle breakdown.

His poor judgement caused property damage this time. Are children next? Should people with this kind of judgement share our roads? Our lives are at stake here.

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: Sad Tragedy

This man loved those animals. They were well taken care of better then a lot of people in this area takes care of their children! Do not judge as he is reliving this day over and over and cries every time. It was a tragic accident and he knows what he did was wrong but can't go back. Please find it in your hearts to have a little sympathy and quit the hateful talk.

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: Cindy Manzione

Maybe if all of you had seen or heard about this man clutching his animals and sobbing uncontrollably you may have written your thoughts and comments a little more sensitively. Poor judgement or not, it was an accident, and two people are just beside themselves heartbroken for their animals. Maybe we can get Matt Santos to write a follow up story on exactly how dangerous this crossing really is.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Sue Ritter

I use this crossing a great deal - with my horse trailer and you can see a train coming from either direction with NO PROBLEM. That's IF your windows are clear - of course, with the train light at that hour of the morning, it shouldn't have been that difficult. Furthermore, he should have HEARD the train signal - it's REALLY loud. Now, if you can't see, can't hear, maybe you shouldn't be driving. This guy should be charged with animal cruelty as far as I'm concerned. There was NO NEED for this to happen other than his stupidity.

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: poor animals

i agree with the other two. He was careless and the animals paid the ultimate price.
I do not have any pity or sorrow for this driver. I know the area and it is very easy to look for and see a train coming simply by rolling down the window. How sad for the animals to have lost their lives due to carelessness.

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Article comment by: The truth

Worse than poor skills, he used POOR JUDGEMENT. He was driving around with iced up windows he couldn't see through. That's the first clue. He not only didn't stop at the tracks, he didn't even look at all for a train. Even if he couldn't see the train, the glare of its headlights should've filled the cab.

My guess is he did see the train and tried to beat it. If the windows weren't frosted maybe he would've seen there wasn't room.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Stop Look and Listen

"this man" who your heart goes out to, killed his horses and his dog by his poor motor vehicle operating skills.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Theresa Brigner

Such a tragic accident! My heart goes out to this man on the loss of his animals. So sad.

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