No injuries as train strikes car on tracks near Dayton Street

A vehicle was struck by a freight train after a driver made a wrong turn and ended up northbound on the BNSF railroad tracks at Dayton Street Saturday night. The driver, a 77-year-old Edmonds woman, had exited the vehicle before being struck and was uninjured, Edmonds police spokesperson Josh McClure said.

The incident occured around 7:40 p.m. after the 77-year-old female driver “inadvertently turned onto the tracks,” McClure said. After the car became high centered on the tracks, the driver left the vehicle.

There was no evidence of driver impairment, he added.

Traffic was blocked at Dayton Street while the car was removed.

— By Teresa Wippel


  1. This is so dangerous and so preventable. Our older residents, of which there are many, need to know when to put their pride aside and stop driving for the safety of themselves and others. We are a rapidly aging population, and we are seeing this happen with so much more frequency. A walkable city is a safer city.

    1. A walkable city has so many benefits, for young and old. I truly hope to see Edmonds continue moving in that direction!

    2. Before you take my license away, please find some affordable and reasonably convenient way for me to get to a restaurant or the grocery store from near Hutt Park, things I now do nearly every day. And please also explain why, at 73, with no tickets and no accidents on my record, I need to give up driving. (My mother had an equally good record at 90.)

  2. It is unfortunate that Ms. Caspers think, with no evidence, that age was a factor in this acident. There have been many icidents at the Dayton street cross with drivers of all ages.. The proximity of the rail yard acces road has confused drivers in the past and will continue to do so. That may or may not have been a factor this time. Also, the sudden loud sort of train like horns so beloved by people who located near the crossing fully aware of train horns can be confusing whrn they start uo with no obvious train in sight, especiallt at night when a driver would expect to see a train hedlight as well as the noise.

    1. David, get real. The age of the driver was mentioned in this story for a reason. Also, this is not a matter of a dangerous intersection. The 77-year-old driver turned onto the railroad tracks! Imagine this was a commuter train, and your child (or likely, your GRANDCHILD) perished as a result of a stubborn senior driving past the age in which it was healthy to do so.

      We need to reduce our car dependence something fierce. If we do not, this is what will happen. We have now seen it firsthand. To ignore it is simply arrogance, plain and simple.

      1. Please note that we mention the age of all drivers involved in crashes or other incidents, when it is available.

      2. How about we stop driving on the railroad tracks? Doesn’t take very long to know your on them. What has this to do with stop driving cars so fiercely. I’m glad your able to go out and about without driving. Not all of us can be in your shoes.

  3. Finally. Something with which I might have expertise. Because I am 77. A was also an 18,year old fireman and brakeman on the Northern Pacific RR. West and east end chain gangs from Pasco to Yakima and Spokane.

    And a 911 driving instructor. We teach students about
    railroad track safety. I have also taught adult skills.

    And before that 34 years as a Seattle motor officer, Vice cop, and sex offender detective. My age group has diminished skills. Easy to be confused. That driver at the minimum can be retested by a simple form letter to Olympia. Right now. Take her keys. Grandkids can take her to appointments

      1. If she can afford Uber on a regular basis, and doesn’t mind sitting at home, cut off, the rest of the time. Staring at the wall gets old, and even TV can stale with time. Humans need company and variety. Is this such a common problem that we need a draconic solution?

  4. My boyfriend and I were at Channel Marker when this accident occurred. I did hear the train whistle but didn’t hear the actual impact. I’m glad the driver got out of the car before the train hit her car. I’m also glad the police showed up so quickly. A group of people gathered at the corner to see what was happening.
    There are railroad crossing signs on either side of the tracks so I’m always mystified as to why these accidents occur.
    Yes, it was dark, and she may not have been familiar with the area, but still cross the tracks before heading straight to go to Anthony’s or turning right to head towards the ferry terminal.

  5. This exact thing happened one evening in February, 2018 when a driver heading out of the marina on Dayton “turned left” onto the train tracks instead of (the aptly named) Railroad Ave., leaving him also high and dry on the raised train tracks. As we were helping the driver out of his vehicle a train rounded the corner down by Doggie Beach, and immediately started laying on its horn. The train stopped about 40 yards shy of the vehicle (that might sound like a lot, but I don’t know how he managed to stop that thing in time).

    It was dark, the driver was not by any indication impaired (just very bewildered), and yes he was elderly but I don’t know that his age had anything to do with it. It is a somewhat confusing intersection, and unfortunately once you turn left onto the tracks you are stuck. I am curious as to how many times this may have happened over the years.

    1. It’s amazing there have not been more accidents as the ferry is loading and the cars are backed up bumper-to-bumper

  6. Our at grade crossings always present challenges for safety. When the second track is added the dangers may increase.

  7. Perhaps those of us who don’t know every piece of information should just be glad no one was hurt, and stop making assumptions about the driver.

  8. There is a great yellow diamond sign at Railroad Ave and Main (when facing north) depicting the relationship of the roads and railroad tracks. Likely a similar sign on Dayton would be of value to people who don’t see the the road is below the railroad grade to the west.
    It could include the crosswalk as well – since it is also below grade to the west.

    Glad no one was injured.

  9. A possible solution: Install a “gate” across the track, completely visable to drivers.
    Of course, when the road crossing gate is activated to block Dayton; the gate across the track is raised, clearing the track for the train. I believe the intersection can be confusing to all ages!

  10. This has absolutely nothing to do with our city being “walkable” or not (whatever that means) but someone jumps at the chance to try to make the irrelevant somehow relevant and pick on the elderly as some sort of incompetent group by nature. The “enlightened” (dare I say woke), “cars are always bad and all housing should be cheap or free” crowd never misses an opportunity to pick on and put down the more conservative and elderly among us.

    The unfortunate and probably momentarily confused driver was able to get out of her car and walk to safety. That doesn’t exactly scream out being mentally impaired; or the city not being safe to walk in. I suspect she will be fined and she and her insurance will be paying the costs for her negligence. These are the facts whether she is 16 years old or 77 years old. No city can be made 100% “walkable” and “safe” in all areas at all times and being elderly doesn’t make you automatically unfit to drive. Get a life people.

  11. I agree with Clinton. This spot has had many accidents exactly like what she did. What does that tell you? She was impaired?? No. It is a confusing spot. How many areas have a street so close to a railroad track that runs parallel?? I was confused when I first moved to Edmonds in my old age of 34. In the dark it’s even harder. Most accidents or all happened in the dark. The statement about a walkable city is rediculous because most residents in Edmonds don’t live 4 blocks from downtown. (They live in the many various areas with Edmonds address.). She’s very lucky she got out.

  12. Yet another great reason to build an overpass over the tracks on Dayton, similar to what Seattle did on Lander St. in SODO. Not only would it make that passage much safer, but it would also give emergency vehicles unrestricted access both ways to/from the ferry during rail traffic. I think that was supposed to be the point behind the controversial ” Waterfront Connector” that was voted down. With a second track coming and more rail traffic, might even get some Federal funds. I’d vote for it.

  13. Greg, not to mention a three – smaller and more fuel efficient ferry system coming – and the state need for another large parking lot down there somewhere. Darrol Haug is your (our) man for knowledge and ideas on this subject and someone our decision makers should start listening to.

    Our “leaders” seem to be more interested in telling us what we should want rather than allow us to take the initiative and tell them what we want them to do to manage all things municipal in our collective best interest as town citizens. This is why we get useless Tree Boards, Hate Portals and Proclamations about Roe v Wade being overturned. Symbolic feel good crap, unrelated to real solutions to real CITY problems. It’s really pathetic.

  14. That crossing is very confusing at night, especially if you’re new to it.
    The very least that should happen is better overhead lighting and better signage.
    I also think that gravel Rail Road access road to the South should be blocked off to the public.
    Thank you.

  15. What an awful comment by Janice Caspers (October 2), regarding the train accident. She knows nothing about the driver. Which also makes her ignorant.

    1. How on Earth would you know this to be true? Shame on you, John. It is beyond me how calling out a very well-known safety issue makes me ignorant. I guess the next thing you will tell me is that women like me should not be allowed to vote! Despicable and mean. Those of us in our 60s and older need to be aware of what our bodies are telling us. To not do so is the true ignorance.

  16. A simple solution would be to paint a big white arrow going straight along with a right turn arrow directly onto Railroad Ave. This corner needs the yellow lane marker upgraded with those glow lights.
    Arrows a simple, inexpensive and can be done in 1 day.

    1. I’m 78 and will be first to admit that I’m not as sharp behind the wheel that I once was.
      However, I’m much more patient and take far fewer chances. I think it’s a wash.

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