MDOT votes to close deadly train crossing

WDAM TV will be broadcasting LIVE at the scene during the Midday broadcast

The state's three highway commissioners voted unanimously this morning to permanently close the railroad crossing along North Eastabuchie road.

Officials said MDOT construction equipment will soon begin ripping up the road that leads to the tracks.

Jones County authorities took action Monday to close the crossing after a man was killed in a collision with a freight train, the second accident at the crossing in less than 10 hours.

The 3:45 p.m. collision between a freight train and an SUV killed 63-year-old Albert Payton, a retired chemistry professor who lived about a block from the crossing where he died, authorities said.

The train which struck the vehicle included seven cars, so it is unclear if the man was attempting to beat the train.

It was the second collision in one day at the unguarded crossing. A woman was critically injured Monday morning when her car was struck by an Amtrak train. She was thrown from the vehicle.

Crews set up barricades Monday evening.

The crossing where the crash occured has been an issue controversy in the area. Two girls were killed there earlier this year when their car smashed into a freight train.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation threatened to close the crossing in 2000, but residents protested, saying they would prefer crossing guard mechanisms.

There have been five deaths at the crossing since 1986. A protected crossing is available to motorists 200 yards to the south.