Family demands better signage following deadly train-involved crash at Wharton Co. railroad tracks

A mom was killed in the car her son was driving after it crashed into a train.

Thursday, September 16, 2021
Deadly crash involving car and train causes demand for change
Family says lack of proper signage at the railroad crossing may hold some responsibility for their loved one's death. They're demanding change so this doesn't happen again.

WHARTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A train crash in Wharton County killed one family member and sent two others to the hospital last Friday night.

The victims' family said there's no railroad crossing signals at the intersection, and no lights in that area, which may have played a key role in a different outcome of the crash.

Catherine Argueta was visibly shaken as she revisited the intersection of County Road 214 and US-59 where three of her family members were involved in the deadly accident.

"Just thinking about it, it's just hard," Argueta said. "You're like, 'Wow! This train was going fast.' That's what I'm saying. With the pictures of the car and everything, that's just an accident that nobody should have survived. But, thank God we still have two of our loved ones who are still alive."

According to DPS, on Friday, Sept. 10, Argueta's nephew, 22-year-old Jairo Amaya, was driving a Ford Focus, heading southeast on County Road 214 around 8:43 p.m.

When Amaya attempted to cross over the tracks, he reportedly didn't see the train heading north on the railroad.

The train and Amaya's car collided. The car was then dragged about half-a-mile before the train could come to a stop.

Amaya's 43-year-old mother, Marina, died at the scene of the crash. Another passenger, 34-year-old Telma Argueta, and Amaya were both rushed to the hospital.

According to the family, Telma Argueta has undergone multiple surgeries and is finally stable. Amaya's condition remains unknown.

Catherine Argueta pointed out that there are only stop signs at that intersection and no lighting or railroad crossing arms to signal when a train is approaching.

She said there are several other intersection that are similar, with only stop signs, throughout the area headed towards Rosenberg.

"We don't want this to happen to somebody else. Especially somebody else's family as much as we're hurting," Catherine Argueta said. "To do something about it, you know, to put lights over here on the track to make sure, 'Oh, you know a train is coming you need to stop.' Because over here, there are just stop signs. And, if you don't see a train and the train doesn't have its lights on, you're just going to go straight through it. There's nothing you can really do until they put something here, and that's what we need so we can prevent it from happening to somebody else."

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses and to help support the victims' children. Catherine Argueta said among the two families impacted there are a total of seven children.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the investigation is ongoing.

For more on this family's tragedy, follow Roxie Bustamante on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram