|Temperature: 49.1°F | Humidity: 89% | Pressure: 29.96in (Steady) | Conditions: Overcast | Wind Direction: East | Wind Speed: 1.7mph|
Train Rams Abandoned Vehicle On Railroad Tracks In Monroe
April 03, 2017
End result of train-car confrontation in Monroe. Photo: Monroe Police. CLICK TO ENLARGE
This story was first published Sat. April 1, 2017
as a front page Feature story in the Chronicle
(MONROE, WA.) -- Friday evening March 31 the ABC News "20-20" program broadcast the story of a young college student who'd gotten herself into a life threatening situation in the dessert near the Grand Canyon.
She had blindly followed her smartphone's GPS instructions into a road that went into the middle of nowhere where she ran out gas and was stuck with no cell signal.
On that same night a woman in Monroe learned a similar hard lesson in blindly trusting Google's ubiquitous GPS signal and direction system.
Just before midnight Monroe Police officers were dispatched on a call about a car that appeared to be stuck on the railroad tracks on Kelsey Street just south of State Route 2 in Monroe.
"As the first officer arrived they observed the railroad crossing lights start to flash and the crossing arms begin to lower. The officer ran to check the vehicle to make sure no one was inside and found it to be unoccupied," said a police statement issued Saturday. "The officer then left the tracks as the train was rapidly approaching."
That eastbound train then ran into the car, pushing it about 500 feet down the tracks.
"The driver of the vehicle was contacted. She explained she was on her way to work and was unfamiliar with the area," said the police statement. "The driver said she was following her GPS and turned right as directed, not realizing it was the railroad tracks. She thought that the car was stuck since the front wheel was off the roadway."
The woman told police she tried to back up but the vehicle wouldn’t move and she was starting to see smoke. She then left the vehicle and called her husband.
Investigators from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway responded to the scene. The stopped train blocked the crossings at Kelsey Street and 179th Ave SE for several hours.
The train cleared the tracks just before 4:00 am, according to police. There were no reported injuries.
Eight tales of GPS disaster
Should you blindly trust your GPS system when traveling by car? Back in May of 2013 Newsweek published an interesting story called, "8 drivers who blindly followed their GPS into disaster."
It's worth a read right here should you be contemplating a road trip with no real (as in paper) maps in the car.
Our personal favorite among those stories? This one.
In 2011, three women visiting Bellevue, here in our state were out after midnight, unable to find their way back to their hotel. After asking the GPS to re-route, they took what they thought was a road that would lead them to the highway.
Instead, their SUV ended up sinking into deep water. The "road" turned out to be a boat launch, and the water a lake. All three managed to get out safely, but by the time the tow truck arrived, the SUV was completely submerged.
"We've seen sitcom parodies of something like this and to actually see it is surprising," said a local fireman.
And so it goes.