Family members turn to faith, neighbors ask safety questions aft

Family members turn to faith, neighbors ask safety questions after deadly Harriman train accident

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The crash happened when a car was hit by a train at a Norfolk Southern railroad crossing on Mountain View Road Friday night. The crash happened when a car was hit by a train at a Norfolk Southern railroad crossing on Mountain View Road Friday night.
A small memorial sits at this railroad crossing with balloons, basketballs and a car bumper. A small memorial sits at this railroad crossing with balloons, basketballs and a car bumper.
Investigators were at the Mountain View Drive railroad crossing Monday, working to figure out what caused the fatal accident. Investigators were at the Mountain View Drive railroad crossing Monday, working to figure out what caused the fatal accident.
Just down the road at the Tanglewood Drive crossing, there was a crash in 2008, injuring two people. One person was injured in a crash in 2000. Another was reported in 1978. Just down the road at the Tanglewood Drive crossing, there was a crash in 2008, injuring two people. One person was injured in a crash in 2000. Another was reported in 1978.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) - Family members spoke out for the first time Monday after a deadly train accident over the weekend in Harriman.

The crash happened when a car was hit by a train at a Norfolk Southern railroad crossing on Mountain View Road Friday night.

Previous story: Victims named following car colliding with train in Harriman Friday night

Of the four in the car two people were killed and two others were injured. The train conductor was not injured.

Rod Drummond, 22, and Jadah Gallaher, 18, were both killed. Darius Gallaher, 21, and Hunter Crass, 20, were injured.

A small memorial sits at this railroad crossing with balloons, basketballs and a car bumper.

The tragic accident killed Missy and Willie Gallaher's charismatic and lovable daughter Jadah.

"I won't get to see her get married, and I won't get to see her have kids but ingot to see her do so many other things. I got to see the first smile, I got to see the first step," said Missy Gallaher.

The family is holding onto faith as their son Darius, who was driving when the train hit, recovers at UT Medical Center.

Previous story: Harriman church holds prayer service for victims of Friday train crash

"He's fighting, he's hanging tough, he's being strong as we know he is," said Willie Gallaher.

"I wouldn't leave until I knew all of the kids were out of the car, because those were our friends and our family. I just had to make sure everybody was going to be okay, as much as I could make sure they were going to be okay," said Missy.

The Gallahers say prayers are pulling all of the families closer.

"The only way we're able to stand here now is that we're not standing because we're so strong, we're standing here because we've got a strong God," said Willie.

A prayer meeting for victims and their families will be held Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Harriman High School.


Railroad crossing safety questions

Statewide, there have been four fatal accidents involving trains and cars in the past 12 months. One was in Nashville, another in Haywood County in West Tennessee, one in Knoxville and the most recent crash in Harriman.

Related story: One person killed in car vs. train accident in Northwest Knox County


Investigators were at the Mountain View Drive railroad crossing Monday, working to figure out what caused the fatal accident.

Friends of the victims came to see for themselves.

"I thought there was no way that they saw it coming," said Laci Sells.

Homeowners say they always try to find a way around the crossing.

"I think it's very very dangerous. The trees blind it. You can't see until you're on the tracks," said Rod Hamby.

According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation Multimodal Transportation Resources, Friday's crash at the Mountain View Drive crossing was the first in 30 years.

"You almost have to get right up to it, really 10 feet of it to make sure you're safe. You can't see around that bend," said Richard Wheeler.

However, just down the road though at the Tanglewood Drive crossing, there was a crash in 2008, injuring two people. One person was injured in a crash in 2000. Another was reported in 1978.

The flashing lights weren't installed until 2010.

"They're not even that far apart from each other. They should both have lights and everything," said Sells.

There's a formula for getting safety barriers. Engineers take into account how many cars and trains pass through, visibility, speed and which barrier would work best.

Now the community is hoping something changes before another tragedy happens.

"It could've been prevented. I believe if the trees were cut back and proper lighting, this possibly could have never happened," said Hamby.

Officials say trains sound their horns for at least 20 seconds before approaching the crossing to warn drivers. It can take a train half a mile to a mile to make an emergency stop depending on how long it is and how much it's hauling.

Norfolk Southern says the northbound train had two locomotives and 53 empty rail cars. The track speed at that location is 40 miles per hour.

Click here to donate to the families killed or injured in this accident.
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