I-Team: Video of railroad crossing arm on top of school bus sparks safety review

EUCLID, Ohio- A FOX 8 I-Team report has helped lead to a safety review at a busy railroad crossing after we revealed a school bus stopped under the crossing gate as a train rumbled past.

And the I-Team has uncovered other safety incidents at that crossing.

In light of all of this, government agencies and the Norfolk Southern rail company are teaming up for an overall safety analysis there.

This week, a parent turned to the I-Team after she captured video of a Euclid City School bus loaded with children and stopped with a rail crossing gate down on top of the bus. It happened on Chardon Rd between St. Clair and Euclid.

Now the I-Team has found reports from there over the last two years showing a car stuck on the tracks, a car hitting a crossing gate, warning lights not working, and three cases of gates not working. In fact, Pam Grigsby works nearby, and she’s seen problems in the extreme. She told us, "There have been instances when the arm comes down, and then it's down for a much longer period. Sometimes a couple of hours."

So what needs to be done? Seems getting anything done at a rail crossing quickly gets complicated.

We found the rail line and various government agencies each responsible for something different. Who's keeping up the track? What about the roadway? Who's deciding how far back the gate should be placed? Who's making sure the gate is working? And what about markings on the pavement so that drivers know where to stop?

We noticed no pavement markings. Yet, a factor in the bus incident was where the driver believed he needed to pull up to in order to get a good look down the tracks. State law says bus drivers have to stop, look down the tracks, and listen for a train.

After the bus incident, Norfolk Southern immediately sent an inspector to the crossing. Now Norfolk Southern will join a number of agencies to decide what, if anything, should be changed.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Rail Development Commission said the review will consider everything. Julie Finnegan said, "All of those people will be on site to take a look at a variety of safety concerns and come up with some sort of safety solutions."

The Public Utilities Commission calls getting the review done a “priority."

The parent who recorded the bus video and other drivers are looking forward to seeing what comes out of this. FOX 8 will stay on top of it.