Another life was claimed in an accident at the railroad crossing in front of Kennedy Rice Dryers in Mer Rouge on June 21.
According to Morehouse Parish Sheriff Mike Tubbs, an accident involving a Union Pacific Train and a vehicle occurred shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Mer Rouge Police Department Chief of Police Mitch Stephens confirmed that Charlie Pete Chism, a Mer Rouge resident born in 1947, died in the accident. Chism was employed by Kennedy Rice Dryers and often stopped at Food Fast in Mer Rouge to pick up drinks and food to deliver back to workers at the facility.
According to reports confirmed by Chief Stephens, Chism had already stopped at Food Fast Saturday morning before the accident occurred.
Chism was traveling north on Highway 165, also known as the Wilmot Highway, parallel to the railroad tracks as the train approached.
According to witnesses spoken to by the MRPD, Chism was trying to beat the train over the tracks at the crossing when his vehicle was struck by the locomotive.
A Union Pacific train remained stationary just north of the accident site Saturday and was guarded by a UP pick-up truck.
On March 10, 2012 a fatal accident occurred at the same crossing and left two women, Christina Vazquez Casarez, age 39, and Juana Vazquez, 31, dead.
Union Pacific provided a statement to the Enterprise about the accident.
"Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the tragic accident that occurred in Mer Rouge on Saturday," Elizabeth Hutchison with Union Pacific Corporate Communications said. "The train crew was not injured and is being extended assistance through our Peer Support Program. The accident occurred at a private crossing, which is equipped with crossbuck and stop signs. We urge everyone to use extreme caution around railroad tracks and obey all warning signs and signals."