The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

April 11, 2014

Train collision spike worries experts

OTTUMWA — In April 2013 there was a crash at a rail crossing near Batavia. Two children died. Another was injured, along with the children’s mother.

Less than a month later, in Ottumwa, a train struck a pickup that apparently tried to slip through the crossing ahead of it. One person went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

It wasn’t just southeast Iowa. The whole state had a bad year at railroad crossings in 2013. Operation Lifesaver ranked Iowa 15th nationally for the number of people injured and killed at railroad crossings for the year.

Now, the organization wants to make sure 2013 was a statistical oddity, not the start of a new trend.

DeQuendre Neeley-Bertrand, a spokeswoman for Operation Lifesaver, joined the organization last year. Iowa stuck out right away.

“I remember one of the first things I saw was story after story about grade crossing crashes in Iowa,” she said.

The 38 percent rise in injuries and fatalities at Iowa crossings represents a rise from 21 such cases in 2012 to 29 last year. It’s easy to think the eight additional injuries isn’t that striking. But remember, in every one of those cases it’s one more person whose life changed for the worse.

Operation Lifesaver is pushing a “See Tracks? Think Train!” slogan as part of a campaign to ensure 2014 sees fewer people hurt.

Neeley-Bertrand pointed to two basic factors explaining why railway accidents are up. She said rail traffic is up, which increases the opportunities for conflicts. The other is that people have more distractions than ever. Being focused on a cell phone or other device is a particular contributor for accidents along rail lines away from crossings.

It’s not as if there is no warning of a train approaching a crossing. If the crossing is signaled, the familiar bars drop across the roadway and loud bells signal the risk. And trains sound their horns as they approach.

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three year old case ends in prison term suspended

    A 36-year-old Moulton man was sentenced to five years in prison, all but 30 days suspended.

    July 29, 2014

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • County attorney requests an assistant Monday morning the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors in the Courthouse boardroom moved to table a request from Appanoose County Attorney Susan C. Daniels to hire an assistant county attorney and amend her budget by $38,833.60 to cover the cost. T

    July 28, 2014

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Auditor: state budgeting better, relies on surplus DES MOINES (AP) — The state auditor in her annual review of the state budget says Iowa's political leaders have improved spending practices but Iowa still spends more than it takes in and covers the difference by dipping into a budget surplus. Audito

    July 28, 2014

  • Navy and Gold Gala photo Navy & Gold Gala proceeds support transportation needs

    The third annual Navy & Gold Gala had a wild west theme this year, part of an effort to keep things fresh and attract new people

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seusical 261.JPG Summer Fun for Families: Seussical the Musical

    Need a Dr. Seuss fix? Or just to get out of the house with a younger child for a few hours? Pella will be staging "Seussical the Musical."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 25, 2014

  • Taking a look at Iowa's rural bridges and roads

    OSKALOOSA — National statistics indicate that Iowa roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair.According to the Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland report, 22 percent of Iowa’s rural bridges are deficient.Maha

    July 25, 2014

AP National