Deadly Railroad Accident

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

Terror on the tracks just outside of Columbus Sunday morning, as a train knifes through a minivan killing all four passengers in the automobile.

Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner, Rodney Kreunen says, "What this brings to the families, the lives, just makes me shudder."

According to Dodge county Sheriff's Captain Glenn Welles, the minivan, carrying two women and two men, had been traveling on a portion of State Highway 16-60, which is closed for construction.

"We know that they had turned around in someone's driveway and were in the process of recrossing the railroad track when the vehicle was struck by the oncoming train," Welles explains.

The 39 car Canadian Pacific Railway freight train was bound for Saint Paul, Minnesota, delivering consumer goods from Chicago. It came to an unexpected halt at the Baden Street crossing in the Town of Elba.

Two of its crew members escaped injury, but have been referred to a counselor.

Kreunen continues, "They never forget this stuff because it lingers in their mind forever. Could they have done something? They couldn't, it was just a case of a lax motorists' judgment."

The Baden Street crossing does not have active warning devices, such as lights or gates. But Kreunen says the stop signs should have been enough.

"We've gone through this entire area, well, over the past seven or eight years, to make sure every crossing had some form of protection."

Kreunen adds his hope this tragedy highlights the importance of safe railroad crossings.

"This railroad crossing issue is a very serious issue. In this case, we have four people put into caskets."

The four victims in Sunday's crash are all believed to be Wisconsin residents.

Over the past nine years, Kreunen says $9 million has been spent on signalization of the stretch of railroad extending from Portage to Watertown.

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