TACOMA, Wash. - A driver was killed in a crash with a Tacoma Rail train in Tacoma early Tuesday.
The crash happened at about 2:45 a.m. under the Lincoln Avenue overpass at Milwaukee Way.
Loved ones identify the victim as 28-year-old Wesley Evans. Evans worked as a longshoreman at the Port of Tacoma and leaves behind a 9-year-old daughter.
Friends went to where the accident happened and told KIRO-7 it is very hard to see trains crossing in the dark.
“When you’re getting off late at night, you don’t see it,” said Robert Ross who also works as a longshoreman,” you don’t see it until you’re up on it.”
Flowers were put along the tracks where Evans was hit.
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There are no flashing lights or railroad crossing arm at the railroad crossing, though it did have a reflective white rail crossing sign, asking drivers to yield, according to Tacoma Rail.
The 7,035-foot train was made up of 35 cars, was equipped with required reflective marking and as traveling at about 5 mph when it was struck by the victim's car.
There was no indication the train operator saw the car coming, according to police.
The Washington Transportation and Utilities Commission said there have been two other vehicle collisions with trains at the crossing in last five years. Both were crashes with semi-trucks. One driver was hurt.
The City of Tacoma has jurisdiction over the crossing. KIRO 7 is asking if the city plans to put in more active warning signals in the future.
Evans, who worked as a longshoreman for Local 23, had gotten off work and was on his way home when the accident happened.
Tacoma police officer Shelbie Boyd said it’s not unusual to have no flashing lights or crossing arms at rail crossings in the area though it’s a busy train traffic zone, but said many trains run slowly at less than 10 mph.
It's possible the victim did not see the approaching train because it was dark and raining.
“We are deeply saddened, and express our sincerest sympathies to the driver’s family and friends,” said Tacoma Rail Superintendent Dale King.
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