Archbold, OH
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Archbold Police Cite NS For Disorderly Conduct When Trains Stop On Downtown Crossings

The Archbold Police Department has filed at least 20 counts of disorderly conduct against the Norfolk Southern railroad for blocked crossings.

Leo Wixom III, police chief, said in discussions with Jeff Fryman, mayor, Donna Dettling, village administrator, and Mark Hagans, village solicitor, it was decided it was necessary to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the inconvenience the blocked crossings have caused.

There are three railroad tracks through Archbold.

Two are main lines from Buffalo, N.Y., to Chicago, Ill.

The third– the farthest north– is a siding.

NS trains have been stopped when there is rail traffic congestion, when a train has a mechnical problem, or when train crews run out of their allotted time and a replacement crew must be found.

Train crews are supposed to “break” the train; that is, disconnect cars and drive the train forward to open the crossing.

Often, that doesn’t happen.

Wixom said Hagans has been studying the village ordinance against trains stopping at the crossing and Ohio law.

After researching the issue, he recommended citing the railroad for violation of Ohio Revised Code 2917.11, which is disorderly conduct.

Wixom said ORC 2917.11 has a subsection, (A)(4), that talks about blocking public roadways.

In the ORC, 2917.11.(A)(4) states, “No person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by doing any of the following:

“Hindering or preventing the movement of persons on a public street, road, highway, or right-of-way, or to, from, within, or upon public or private property, so as to interfere with the rights of others, and by any act that serves no lawful and reasonable purpose of the offender.”

Those guilty of a thirddegree misdemeanor can be fined up to $500.

Going Back

Wixom said charges were filed in Fulton County Western District Court last week.

After a spate of blocked crossing incidents last year, Archbold police began carefully documenting when trains block the Defiance and Franklin street crossings.

The charges go back several months, Wixom said, adding more charges, going back more than a year, could be filed.

Wixom and Tera Rogers, an officer, declined to say how long a train can be parked at a crossing before the citation is prepared.

The charges are being filed using the “affidavit” procedure.

Officers do not have to physically hand the train conductor paperwork; instead, the railroad is notified by mail.

Feb. 2-3

Three charges of disorderly conduct were filed against NS in connection with blocked crossings that occurred Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 2-3.

A police report states on Feb. 2, a train blocked the Defiance Street crossing for about an hour and 20 minutes, starting at 3:42 pm.

NS was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct on Feb. 3, for stopping a train over both the Defiance and Franklin Street crossings for about an hour, starting at 7 am.

Wixom said by filing the charges, APD can demonstrate to residents that village officials are doing all they can to remedy the blocked crossing situation.

“I can’t just call a tow truck and have the train towed away. I wish I could,” Wixom said.

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