Family of woman killed in Chesapeake train crash calls for changes at railroad crossing

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Chesapeake_train_accident_update_7_20190401184758

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Since a fatal train crash that took the life of a local woman, questions are being raised about the intersection’s safety.

28-year-old Taylor Romancyzk died Saturday night when her car collided with a CSX train on Snowden Street in Chesapeake. A memorial has been built by friends and family where her car was hit.

Taylor’s uncle says he wants changes made to the crossing. 

“I want it to be made safe. I think that they need crossing gates and I think that they need red lights on both sides,” he said. “There is not even no marks on the road. Usually you come up and there is like you said, this was probably it right there where there is a white line with a railroad crossing thing on the road, but that is totally gone,” he described as he walked along the road leading up to the crossing.

There are railroad signs and a yield sign, but Wood says they are not in a proper place. And at night it could be especially dangerous because it is hard to see.

 He believes that if Taylor had seen or heard the train, things would be different.

“My whole family is devastated over this and I’m really pissed off and I’m not going to rest until this gets fixed,” he said.

That’s why he wants the message out.

“I want to hear why it looks like this, and I want to hear when it is going to get made safe that is what I want to hear. I don’t want to hear any excuses, you can’t put a price on someone’s life,” he said.

In a statement CSX said:

“Warning devices, signage or road markings adhere to national standards set forth by a USDOT uniform code (Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways). These standards are used nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets and highways. Thus, any decisions about warning devices, signage or road markings are led by state authorities, which in this case is the Virginia Department of Transportation. While CSX does not make these decisions, we are part of the process and we work cooperatively on such matters. Our thoughts remain with those impacted by this incident.”

Wood said he knows there won’t be change overnight but doesn’t want his niece’s death to be in vain.

“I know that if it happened to one of her friends or another family member, she would be out here just like I am,” he said.

Per the Federal Railroad Administration, flashing lights or lights with gates do improve safety at crossings, but they do not prevent all collisions.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) provided this statement:

“We extend our deepest condolences to those affected by the crash on Snowden Street in Chesapeake. Safety is paramount at the Virginia Department of Transportation, and every life lost on the road is one too many. The department is awaiting the findings of the investigation to learn what led to the crash and then determine with its partners, including the City of Chesapeake and the railroad, if any measures should be taken at this rail crossing.

Please direct any inquiries into the crash to the Chesapeake Police Department, which is investigating the incident.

VDOT records show one recorded crash at this crossing since 1993. That crash, in 2014, caused property damage, but no one was injured.”

We will stay on the story and bring you any updates.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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