By Sarah Reichert and Donna Green-Townsend on July 11th, 2013
Updated, July 11: Martin Beckles has died from his injuries, Florida Highway Patrol announced Wednesday afternoon.
The accident report stated he was to be treated at UF Health Shands Hospital, though Shands officials never confirmed his stay there. That was likely because he was brought in under an alias due to the severity of his injuries, an FHP investigator told WUFT News.
Prior to Beckles’ passing, David Westrick, FedEx spokesman for media relations, could not confirm how long the company had employed Beckles, though he did say FedEx was working with authorities on the investigation to determine how the crash happened.
“Our thoughts and well wishes are extended to Mr. Beckles and his family,” Westrick said.
Gary Sease, a CSX spokesman, wrote the following in an email to WUFT News:
The CSX freight train was southbound and had begun its trip at Jacksonville with a destination of Tampa. The train had two locomotives and 34 rail cars. The speed limit for trains in that particular area is 60 mph and the train’s event recorder indicates it was traveling 53 mph when it collided with the delivery truck on July 3. The crossing is a private one for the access of a property owner in the area. It is marked with cross bucks (the “X” sign indicating a crossing). We are cooperating with authorities looking into this collision. Our thoughts are with the injured driver.
There are no railroad crossing arms at the area where Beckles was hit, and a blog comment posted by a witness Sunday mentioned the difficulty of seeing a train coming due to the rain at the time of the accident.
“You could not see more than 30 feet in front of you,” wrote Ashley Schneider, an employee at Walt’s Tree Service, 11106 SE US Highway 301. “The conductor was trying very hard to hold back the tears wishing there was something he could do to change the event.”
No charges have been filed in the investigation, which is ongoing.
Original story, July 4: The driver of a FedEx vehicle suffered critical injuries after a train collided with his truck at a railroad crossing Wednesday afternoon just south of Hawthorne.
The Florida Highway Patrol reports Martin Beckles, 51, of Ocala was attempting to cross railroad tracks from a private drive off U.S. Highway 301 south of Hawthorne at 3:55 p.m. when a southbound CSX train hit the truck’s passenger side.
The railroad crossing does not have cross arms and FHP reports heavy rain at the time of the accident. Beckles was rushed to UF Health in Gainesville. Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Bruce Simmons said the investigation into the accident is continuing.