FLORENCE, Ariz. – This Monsoon season, Pinal County has been significantly effected by a series of dangerous storms which have caused flash flooding, lightning strikes resulting in fires and thick, blowing dust. A storm event which occurred last week near sundown proved another reminder for motorists to think twice when driving through a dust cloud.
A PCSO deputy on patrol westbound near Park Link Drive and Interstate 10 observed a large wall of dust forming in the distance and within minutes was engulfed in the cloud. The deputy significantly reduced his speed, knowing a rail crossing was approaching. As the deputy approach the crossing, a moving train was crossing the road.
Despite rail arms being deployed and red emergency lights flashing, the safety measures and moving train could barely be seen until the deputy had reached the crossing.
Even with a speed limit of 35 mph at the crossing, the deputy, who has been a law enforcement officer for over 20 years, determined a vehicle traveling at that speed would likely not have been able to safely recognize the rail crossing, or traveling train, and stop within a safe distance without locking up brakes to avoid a collision. Luckily, there were no motorists on the road at the time the train was crossing.
“Citizens of Pinal County have seen the dangerous and deadly consequences that have unfortunately resulted from numerous storms this Monsoon season,” Sheriff Babeu said. “I hope our deputy’s experience yesterday will cause drivers on our roadways to take extra care and think twice during these weather events in an effort to avoid a future tragedy.”