Jupiter, Fla. – It’s been exactly one year since Jo Rintamaki and her grandsons Tristan and Skyler Prestano were struck and killed at the railroad crossing in Jupiter.
The family was struck by an Amtrak train on Nov. 23, 2019. While on their way to a campaign trip. The accident took place at 1 p.m. and while the train was traveling at 79 m.p.h.
This is the sixth train crash involving a car since 2000, and some residents say that the crossing is dangerous and needs more safety upgrades as soon as possible.
The intersection off the Beeline highway has been upgraded with safety now claiming the top priority. The first change was to replace yield signs with stop signs immediately following the accident. Additional pavement markings have also been added to the crossing to make it clear that motorists should use caution.
Gates have not yet been added to the railroad crossing, but the Florida Department of Transportation representatives say that those safety measures are in the works.
Right now there are no visual cues that let drivers and pedestrians know that there is a train coming, and also no gates that prevent cars from going over the crosswalk, even when a train might be barreling down on the tracks at an excess of 80 m.p.h. with no one being the wiser.
This is not the first fatal train and car accident in West Palm Beach. A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Tri-Rail train at Forrest Hill Boulevard in February of this year and another three people were truck in January. (WPTV) (PBP)
Altogether, FDOT plans to spend almost $60 million on safety improvements over the next year, concluding in the safety upgrades of more than 4,000 crossings by March 2022.