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A 16 year-old “shining star” of the Sultan community was killed earlier this month when her car was struck by a passing train at a railroad crossing.

Too many times, local firefighters have had to rescue friends and relatives from collisions on the railroad tracks that run through the Skykomish River valley, Snohomish County Fire District 5 Chief Merlin Halverson said.

Krystinia was the granddaughter of a commissioner in the fire district. Rescue crews recognized the high school sophomore at the scene, Halverson said.

In 1986, a firefighter was killed by a train at the same railroad crossing, he said.

“We cannot undo the past, but maybe we can alter the future,” the fire chief said.

It’s time to study the idea of restricting all railroad crossings in the valley to intersections equipped with signals and control arms, he said. In many cases, access roads to private homes could be built linking those properties to safer, controlled crossings, Halverson said.

Otherwise, the fire chief said, “it’s clear to me that more people are going to die.”

Train accidents occur far too frequently, often with devastating consequences. Many different parties (including the railroad company, the city and the county, among others) can prevent these types of accidents–and can be held liable accordingly.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Airlines, Cruises, Buses, and Other Mass Transit Accidents.

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