May 2012 Archives

May 14, 2012

Longboat Key Police Chief Dies in North Carolina Motorcycle Crash

Longboat Key Chief Dies.jpgPolice Chief Al Hogle, of Longboat Key, Florida, was killed in a motorcycle crash today in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The details of the wreck have not yet been released by the State Highway Patrol.

The Longboat Key News reported that Chief Hogle was an Air Force veteran and a long-time law enforcement officer. Chief Hogle was also graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico. He lived and worked in Sarasota for many years before retiring from the Sarasota Police Department. He also held positions as a Sarasota City Commissioner and Mayor. After leaving politics, Chief Hogle returned to law enforcement and became the Chief of Police of the City of Bradenton. After reaching his goals for the Bradenton Police Department, he moved on to Longboat Key in 2002.

Chief Hogle's enthusiasm for riding motorcycles was well known. When interviewed last fall, Hogle declared his love for motorcycling in the mountains of Western North Carolina. During the interview, Chief Hogle commented about his love of high performance motorcycles. Western North Carolina, from Asheville to Robbinsville, is well known to motorcycle enthusiasts due to the scenic highways and curvy roads.The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon are two or the more popular roads among motorcyclists.

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May 7, 2012

Train Cuts Tractor-Trailer in Two - No Injuries Reported

Last Friday, a dangerous railroad crossing in Kings Mountain, North Carolina claimed a tractor-trailer loaded with cotton bails as its latest victim when a huge train sliced the 18-wheeler in two near Battleground Avenue and Oak Street in Kings Mountain. Luckily, no one was injured. The video is amazing.

Town officials have long known about the dangers presented by the dangerous railroad crossing according to the Gaston Gazette, but until now had failed to act. The problem is that the railroad tracts are quite high above the level of the road, and the road ramps sharply upward as you approach the tracks. In this collision, the tractor-trailer's landing gear caught on the tracts, and the truck was stuck.

Although there are signs on both sides of the tracks prohibiting tractor-trailers from using the crossing, there have been 4 such train wrecks at this crossing since 2011, and 14 since 1976. North Carolina DOT has been after city leaders since 2008 to make them close the crossing. City leaders have previously failed to take action. The near fatal collision in this case should cause the city to close the crossing.

The truck driver and his passenger narrowly escaped the speeding locomotive, jumping from the truck just seconds prior to impact. After the crash, city leaders decided to temporarily close the railroad crossing, and have indicated that they plan to hold a public hearing on the issue of permanently closing the crossing. For the City to Ignore such a clear safety hazard for so long amounts to a reckless indifference to the safety of the general public.

Cities and towns in North Carolina, in conjunction with DOT, decide where railroad crossings will occur. If any crossing presents an unusual hazard, such as this one, city leaders have the authority and obligation to close it.

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