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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Town feuds with CSX over sign removal

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The North Charleston, S.C. feud with the CSX railroad line got a little hotter this week when an employee cited during a sign-removal dispute last month apparently failed to show for his court appearance, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. A bench warrant was issued for a CSX employee who allegedly played a role in the railroad's attempt to remove a sign telling motorists where to direct complaints about bumpy railroad crossings.


The CSX employee was given a Monday court date on a charge of tampering with city property, said Ryan Johnson, staff assistant to Mayor Keith Summey. When he failed to appear, he was found guilty in his absence and a bench warrant was issued by municipal Judge Vic Revelise. The ticket carries a $262 fine or five days in jail, according to city documents.

The ticketed employee, identified as Kevin Bradley Clayton of Summerville, could not be reached. A CSX spokesman confirmed that Clayton is a roadmaster for the engineering department. Beyond that, officials were looking into what happened, CSX spokesman Gary Sease said.

The dispute stems from an incident July 23 when Summey got word that a CSX worker was taking down one of the signs the city had placed near what it deemed were problematic railroad crossings. Summey and an assistant grabbed a video camera and went to East Montague Avenue. In the video they recorded, Summey confronts a CSX worker, who explains he was just following orders from his boss. The man cited by the city was one of the man's superiors, the city contends.

North Charleston had installed the signs at three CSX railroad crossings in the city after officials received complaints from motorists that the railroad's repair work at those locations were poorly done, forcing cars to slow down or make bumpy crossings.

The signs read: "This crossing recently repaired by CSX. If unhappy with it, please call 1-877-835-5279." The number is the railroad's 1-800 "Tell CSX" line.

The three intersections the city contends were poorly repaired and present a hazard to people and their vehicles are a crossing near East Montague and Spruill avenues, close to North Charleston High School; Spruill and Bexley Street; and South Rhett Avenue and Bexley. Sease said Tuesday that the railroad is looking to address the crossing concerns.

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