Athens woman hit and killed by train

ATHENS - The City of Athens signed a contract with Norfolk Southern and TDOT in July to bring safety improvements to the railroad intersection where an Athens woman was killed on Sunday.

Friends and family of Alana King, 21, said those improvements could have saved her life.

"It's just like heartbreaking," said family friend Charissa Ryan, "Because she died way too young and it's just really sad."

Candles were still burning at the crash site where Alana was killed on Sunday.

A train struck and killed the young mom when she was driving over the railroad intersection.

"Witnesses said that she was the second car following another vehicle that had crossed the tracks in front of the train, and that she didn't slow down and drove into the path of the train," said Capt. Rob Davis.

Neighbors, friends and family of Alana said they've been fighting for a safer intersection and railroad gates for years.
There was another collision at the same intersection two years ago.

"If they did something about it then my friend Jade would not be dead right now," said neighbor Jerry Simpson.

"This accident could have been easily prevented if they had that, somebody's life could have been saved because of it," Ryan said.

Three months before Alana was killed the city of Athens signed a contract with TDOT and Norfolk Southern to upgrade the safety measures at that very intersection.
The upgrades include additional signage and crossing gates.

"That is in the plan, to upgrade that crossing with a guarded type that has the arms that actually drop when a train is coming," Capt. Davis said.

But the contract does not include a deadline on when the improvements will made.
The community hopes Alana's death will speed up the process.

"Make sure it don't happen to nobody else again," Simpson said.

While police issue a reminder for drivers to stay alert.

"It's up to drivers to maintain awareness and caution when crossing a railroad track," Capt. Davis said.

Channel 3 asked TDOT and Norfolk Southern when they expect to have the new crossing gates installed at that intersection and have not heard back yet.

This crash is still being investigated.


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