Minivan Collides with Train

A minivan was crossing a set of multiple railroad tracks after a train had backed across the crossing on the near track and was subsequently struck by a through train traveling in the opposite direction on the far track.  The unbelted minivan driver was ejected and died at the scene.  ESi was asked to reconstruct the locations and movements of the vehicles leading up to the crash and determine the influence of the backing train on the crash.

Data recorded by the through train indicated that it was traveling at a reasonable, constant speed and the engineer had sounded the horn multiple times as it approached the crossing.  In-cab video recorded by the through train showed the location and movement of the backing and through trains as the through train approached the crossing and the movement of the minivan just before impact.  Analysis of the video indicated the speed and location of the backing train leading up to the crash.  A Total Station survey of the crash site was used to precisely locate landmarks seen in the video and confirm the locations and timing of the trains leading up to the crash.

Analysis of pre-crash speed data retrieved from the minivan's airbag control module indicated its speed and location leading up to the crash.

ESi's analysis showed the minivan driver's view of the oncoming train was blocked by the backing train until 1.6 seconds before impact, however, the minivan did not brake or slow down for the crossing or the stop sign posted ahead of the crossing.

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