NTSB Continues to Investigate Fatal Grade Crossing Crash between SUV, Brightline Train

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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The National Transportation Safety Board announced that it is continuing to investigate a recent grade crossing collision that occurred on Feb. 8, 2023, when a Nissan Rogue SUV was struck in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The incident took place around 8p.m. EST, with a driver and one passenger in the vehicle, as the car was traveling south on Old Dixie Highway in Delray Beach, according to the NTSB. 

The vehicle turned right onto Lindell Boulevard and approached a grade crossing with two main tracks just west of the intersection of Old Dixie Highway and Lindell Boulevard, according to preliminary findings.

The SUV drove through the crossing’s white stop line and came to a stop with its front tires on the east main track’s near-side rail. When a northbound Florida East Coast Railway freight train neared the Lindell Boulevard grade crossing, the flashing lights and gates were triggered.

At around 8:08 p.m., after the northbound freight train cleared the crossing, a Brightline passenger train moving south approached the grade crossing. As the train crew became aware of a car on the tracks, they blew the horn and placed the train into emergency braking.

The southbound passenger train approached the grade crossing and collided with the stopped SUV. The two SUV occupants died as a result of their injuries, NTSB said. 

Lindell Boulevard is a split roadway with three lanes with a speed limit of 25 mph for highway vehicles at the crash site. Lights, crossbucks, and gates are used to signal the grade crossing.

The NTSB said it is coordinating the investigation with the Federal Railroad Administration; Palm Beach County; Delray Beach Police Department; the City of Delray Beach; Florida East Coast Railway and Brightline. 

The NTSB is investigating all aspects of the crash while it establishes the probable cause, with the goal of providing safety recommendations to prevent similar events.

The remaining investigative activity will concentrate on factors that may have influenced the SUV driver’s behavior during the incident, the timing and manner in which the grade crossing signal preempts highway signaling near the crash, grade crossing design, and train operations at grade crossings, a release said. 

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