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Train crash kills Bealeton man

Friday, Dec. 21 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
The remains of a Toyota Camry lie off Bealeton Road after it crashed into a Norfolk-Southern freight train Friday. - Photo by Mark Grandstaff
A Norfolk-Southern freight train killed a Bealeton motorist on a private road off Bealeton Road Friday evening.

At about 3:55 p.m., Gregory Joe Donaldson, 56, of Bealeton, drove a 2000 Toyota Camry on Bealeton Road, turning onto a grade crossing on Collins Lane. While crossing the tracks, a westbound freight train crashed into the front right side of the car.

Donaldson died on the scene from his injuries, said Virginia First Sgt. Les Tyler. Virginia State Police are still investigating the collision.

There was still daylight when the train hit the man's car, said First Sgt. Jeff Pearson.

"There are no sight distance problems [at this crossing]," he said. "I can't tell you why he crossed."

The accident happened less than a mile away from the site of another fatal train accident that happened on Nov. 16, when an Amtrak passenger train hit the Chevy Cavalier of James E. Wood, 54, of Shenandoah, Va. at a private grade crossing near Remington Road.

There are 67 grade crossings like these in Fauquier County, where railroad tracks intersect directly with roads. Crossings on private roads are usually uncontrolled, meaning there are no barriers or alerts present except for a sign. It's up to the road's owner to install additional safety devices. Most of them don't, Pearson said.
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