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Powell Police Chief Warns of Dangerous Railroad Crossing

POWELL (Tom Bosco) -- After a near-miss between a car and a train was caught on tape, one Central Ohio police chief said he wants to cut down the close calls near railroad intersections.

To combat this danger, Powell officers have been issuing warnings to drivers who stop on the tracks near the Powell Road and Depot Street intersection.

More than 85 people have been warned. 

"We're going to stop everyone we can who stops on that track," Powell Police Chief Gary Vest said.

His decision was fueled in part by Nov. 27 video footage showing two cars caught on the train tracks as the gates were closing.

One vehicle barely made it across the track in time.

"That car actually got hit by the gate as it closed," Vest said. "And then the second car actually had to drive through the gate to avoid the track."

Vest said these close calls are becoming more frequent.

Powell traffic typically backs up all the way to the tracks. Compounding that risk are drivers who try to make a left turn onto Depot Street, which is illegal during rush hour.

Vest has called for a new road design, and the state seems to be on board.

In October 2012, the Ohio Rail Development Commission offered to pay for a new type of crossing if Powell put up a median to stop drivers from taking a left turn at Depot Street.

So far, however, the city hasn't done so.

Meanwhile, drivers risk a potentially deadly trap.

"There's no escape route for a car that stops on the tracks," Vest said. "They're just stuck."

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