Many Danville residents may see railroad crossings and think that collisions at these intersections are rare. To be fair, they are quite uncommon; but they aren't as infrequent as you may think. For example, in the state of Virginia there have been 21 collisions and one death at railroad crossings this year.
Accidents that involve a train and a vehicle rarely end well. Trains are so immensely powerful that any collision with a smaller vehicle is very likely to cause serious, catastrophic or fatal injuries to the people in the smaller vehicle -- and even passengers aboard the train. That's why the safety arms and lights at those intersections are so important. They have to be in proper working order to protect vehicles that attempt to cross the tracks at an unfortunate time.
Now, we don't usually get to talk about motor vehicle accidents where there is a "happy" outcome (or, at least, happy relative to the circumstances of the incident). But in the case of a train-car accident in Waverly, Virginia, the victim of the incident should be very thankful he is still alive.
The man was driving his vehicle and ended up being struck by a train at a railroad crossing. The train was travelling at a blistering 80 miles per hour, and his vehicle basically disintegrated. However, he escaped with his life. He was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Apparently the crossing arm at the intersection where this collision occurred was not properly functioning recently, so there could be legal action involved in the coming weeks.
Source: WTVR, "Driver survives 80 mph Amtrak collision," Scott Wise, Jerrita Patterson and Wayne Covil, Dec. 12, 2013