The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

July 29, 2013

2013 already a deadly year at Iowa rail crossings

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The number of railroad crossing deaths in Iowa this year already is higher than what is typical for an entire year, but it's not clear why 2013 is proving deadlier than normal.

The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/14YNCVz ) that Iowa averages 57 crashes at railroad crossings and 4.5 deaths every year. About 21 people are injured each year.

Six people already have died at Iowa railroad crossings this year.

Accident data show that two-thirds of the crashes in Iowa since 1975 were caused by drivers or pedestrians who failed to stop at crossings. And most crashes since 2010 happened at crossings that lack gates or flashing lights.

But the number of crashes has fallen significantly over the past three decades.

The number of railroad crossing accidents peaked in 1981 with more than 9,400 crashes and 728 deaths, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Last year, there were 1,900 rail crossing accidents and 271 deaths.

About one-quarter of the state's 4,320 railroad crossings are controlled by gates, and only about 19 percent have flashing lights.

In April, a 25-year-old mother drove around lowered gates at a crossing near Batavia, Iowa, without seeing the oncoming train. The train struck her van and killed two of her three children. The mother and her other child were injured.

Railroads also try to close crossings that are dangerous or ones that have little traffic. BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said her railroad has closed 5,000 of its most dangerous crossings nationwide since 1995.

Railroads also conduct their own education programs and support the Operation Lifesaver nonprofit that promotes safety.

"We believe knowledge is the best prevention," said McBeth, who is based in Minneapolis. "We target new drivers, adult drivers and professional drivers. This is the best way to reduce incidents and loss of life is by educating people on the potential dangers at all kinds of grade railroad crossings."

Text Only
AP Iowa
  • Propane suppliers: buy ahead to avoid price spikes DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — State officials and propane suppliers are advising consumers to fill their tanks before cold weather arrives because prices could climb again this winter. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1obSe2U ) prices will

    July 23, 2014

  • Woman convicted of murder in Des Moines stabbing DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A woman has been convicted of stabbing to death a 28-year-old man in Des Moines last year. The Des Moines Register says (http://dmreg.co/1nTD5yx ) 22-year-old Miranda Rose Petithory Metcalf was found guilty of second-degree mu

    July 23, 2014

  • Sioux City escape returned to jail SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A man missing from a Sioux City work release facility since July 12 is back in jail after he was located in a Sioux City apartment. The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1rztX9D ) Dexter James-Lloyd No Ear was taken in

    July 23, 2014

  • Burlington City Council fails to censure member BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — An evenly divided Burlington City Council failed to pass a resolution censuring one of its own members for cursing and storming out of a meeting earlier this month. The Burlington Hawk Eye reports (http://bit.ly/1ucN6jT ) the

    July 23, 2014

  • Free meals available to more Des Moines students DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines Public Schools plans to offer free meals to all students at more schools beginning this fall. District officials say 35 Des Moines schools and three early learning centers will offer free breakfasts and lunches for

    July 23, 2014

  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children released Tuesday ranked Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year, the best showing for the state in 25 years. The Kids Counts report from the Annie E. Casey Fo

    July 23, 2014

  • Power switched off in 300 Iowa homes amid heat CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An energy company says it switched off power in hundreds of Iowa homes to work on power lines this week as temperatures reached almost 90 degrees. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports (http://bit.ly/1nTJrxO ) Alliant

    July 23, 2014

  • Demoted Iowa police chief wants to get reinstated NASHUA, Iowa (AP) — The former police chief of a northern Iowa city is fighting to get his job back after being demoted. Former Nashua Police Chief Ernie Willsher and his attorney argued Monday night at city council that he be reinstated. KIMT-TV rep

    July 22, 2014

  • Iowa police investigate why officer shot vehicle DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa police are trying to determine why an officer fired a bullet into a car involved in a high-speed chase. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1p5aGXC ) Polk County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jana Abens said M

    July 22, 2014

  • Eddyville gets $1M federal grant for flood project EDDYVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The city of Eddyville is getting more than $1 million to improve its stormwater handling system to protect the city from Des Moines River flooding. The funding, announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, comes from the Federa

    July 22, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National