Craven County residents respond to Norfolk Southern crossing removals

CRAVEN COUNTY, NC (WITN) Residents who live near Highway 17 in Craven County are voicing their concerns after a letter from Norfolk Southern said they had ten days to prove they have a permit for their crossings in their driveway or Norfolk Southern would remove them.

Marie Wise says her son came home one day to a missing driveway and no longer has easy access to get to his home. Since he doesn't own the home, she believes a letter was sent to the owner, and not the resident, who had no idea this was happening.

"He's upset. He's trying to find some place to move. He can't even have no way of getting his furniture out of there. Whatever's in the trailer has to stay there," Wise said.

Wise's neighbor, Carol Everette, says she received a letter on June 10th saying she had to show her permit by June 21. Her son, Zeno, is concerned as well and he says his father has dementia which could pose a problem for EMS services.

"Due to my father's health problems, the ambulance could not come to him if...we had to call them three times in the past 12 months," Zeno said.

Everette says if Norfolk Southern tears down his mother's driveway, she will have no other way to get to her home. He says the path behind their home is not safe and often floods. And they can't afford to build a new one.

"It's just a tile in the road, a tile in the ditch. There is no actual road there--no actual driveway. One would have to be constructed from scratch," he said.

WITN has reached out to Norfollk Southern concerning the removal of the driveways, but we haven't heard back.

The Craven County Manager says he's looking into Everette's case, but since Norfolk owns the property there's not much they can do.

Thomas Mark, the Vice Chairman of the Craven County Commissioners says, to his understanding, the driveways crossing the tracks are illegal driveways.

The Vanceboro Fire Chief says that they will find a way to access these homes, even if they have to call and stop the trains and pull the hose over the tracks.

Wise added, "I would just like to know what is going on. I've been here since 1960 and I've never known of anything like this."