Candlelight vigil planned for woman killed in train accident

Crash scene (Source: Walker Police Department Facebook Page)
Crash scene (Source: Walker Police Department Facebook Page)

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - The deadly crash that happened Wednesday afternoon at the Sunland Drive railroad crossing in Walker was the second accident in that intersection this year.

People who cross those tracks every day are calling for upgrades to the intersection but they can't seem to get a response from the Canadian National Railroad, the company that owns the tracks.

LaRaye London-Phillips, 29, was on the way to work late Wednesday afternoon when her dad she crossed the railroad tracks at Sunland Drive and got hit by a train.

"I cry every hour. Every hour I shed a tear," her father, Freddie London, said.

LaRaye was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. The bumper of her PT Cruiser was left at the foot of the crossing as a reminder to everyone who passes.

"We come in and out of here every day so we don't always think to look both ways. You come in and want to go," Dustin Stewart said.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, in the last ten years there have been 27 accidents involving a train and a vehicle in Livingston Parish. Four people died in those crashes, seven others were injured. Two of the crashes in 2012 happened at the Sunland Drive intersection.

People who work in the Livingston Parish Industrial Park said they have asked Canadian National Railroad to install crossing arms and warning signals at the intersection.

"It's just a habit to go across the tracks without looking. It would be a lot better if we had a signal to tell us that a train was coming down those tracks," Michael West said.

"We're in here day in and day out. Railroad crossing arms would be great for us," Patrick Riggins said.

LaRaye leaves behind a paralyzed husband and a six year old daughter. Her sister, Candace, has made it her mission to make sure LaRaye's memories shine.

"She was a diva. Every day she was a diva, even when she played basketball she wore makeup, even went on the court with makeup on. I'll make sure her memory stays alive through her daughter," Candace London-Odds said.

Her father, lovingly known as "coach" to those he taught, said he is grateful for all of the support he's received.

"It's a trying time. I have to get my strength from the Lord," Freddie London said.

Loved ones of a LaRaye London-Phillips night will come together for a candlelight vigil tonight at 7 p.m. at the Live Oak Ball Park in Denham Springs.

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