Hustonville man killed by train

Published 7:54 pm Thursday, December 28, 2023

By: Abigail Roberts and Lance Gaither

A Hustonville man was killed Wednesday when his vehicle collided with a train at a railroad crossing in Moreland. Danny L. Dunaway, 70, of Hustonville was pronounced dead at 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 27.

“There is no suspected alcohol or drugs,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Chief Deputy Brandon Curlis. “It was possibly a medical emergency; that is still under investigation. There were diabetic supplies and oxygen located in the vehicle.”

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Dunaway was traveling in a 2015 Ford F150 pickup truck on Community Center Drive when he approached the railroad tracks, Lincoln County Coroner Farris Marcum said. Dunaway is reported to have slowly eased forward onto the tracks despite warning signals.

“According to witnesses on the train, he pulled up to the stop, stopped for a moment, then he accelerated forward a little bit, stopped, and then he accelerated again and the last time he did, he pulled in front of a northbound Norfolk Southern train,” he said. “He may have had a medical event. He had some medical issues, he was a diabetic.”

Dunaway was on his way to a bank in Nicholasville, according to his wife, Marcum said.The train crossing has lights and sound signals to alert when a train is crossing, but it does not have crossing arms. The lights and sounds were working at the time, Marcum said.

“People who were interviewed said people will pull up there, and hesitate and then try to beat the train. That’s a straight area out there, you can see the train for a long way,” Marcum said. “I’m not for sure. I think, it could be, I’ll never know, it could be a combination of a medical event and driver error on the gentleman’s part,” Marcum said.

Lincoln County Fire Chief Eric Davidson stated that there have been similar collisions in the past in the area.“There have been several in the last few years,” Davidson said. “I know of three myself at that exact crossing. But all of the crossings through there have had several cars struck by trains. Not all have been fatalities, but there have been a few at that same crossing.” Although not all rail crossings have arm guards, all crossings have visual and audible cues to alert drivers of an oncoming train. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office urges drivers to always be cautious and look both ways at rail crossings even if lights aren’t flashing. “You have to be very observant,” Curlis said. “There will always be painted spots on the road. Take your time and be certain before you pull out onto the tracks. We encourage the public to be safe anytime they are crossing even if there aren’t lights or sirens.”

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln County Fire Department, Lincoln County EMS and Lincoln County Coroner’s Office responded to the scene, as well as a team from Norfolk Southern Railroad.