The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 7, 2013

Officials: Driver 'real lucky' to escape train, truck collision

OTTUMWA — Monday night by the railroad tracks, a police officer, railroad employees and firefighters were shaking their heads while a flatbed tow-truck hoisted the remains of a smashed pickup.

"When are people going to learn not to go around the arms?" asked Assistant Chief Mike Craff of the Ottumwa Fire Department.

Even two hours after the accident, those protective barrier arms were still down, lights flashing, at the railroad crossing on Vine Street, between Hayne and Main streets, and within view of Ottumwa High School. Emergency responders said the incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

A small pickup truck went around the arms, which were already down, the driver acknowledged to investigators. A railway employee at the scene said the vehicle was clearly past the arms at the time of the accident. But from what the firefighters were able to put together, the driver wasn't purposely trying to beat a train she saw coming. She saw a stopped train, just sitting on the railroad tracks.

"I can’t talk to that because, at this point, the investigation is ongoing," said Amy McBeth, a spokeswoman with BNSF Railway. "I can tell you the crossing was protected by crossing gates and lights, and those were working. It’s extremely dangerous to go around an activated crossing gate."

The vehicle's driver only saw the parked train and the activated gates. That may have lead the motorist to believe it was that train, at least 50 feet away, causing the arms, lights and bells to activate. But it was not the one she saw that caused the signal to activate. It was another train, doing 30 mph straight for the intersection. It was not visible due to the parked train.

The pickup driver went around the arms and drove straight into the side of a moving train.

Text Only
Local News
  • Graham's presentation A sweet history lesson OTTUMWA — In one of the most popular monthly presentations the Wapello County Historical Society has ever hosted, it was standing-room only to hear the history of Graham Milk and Ice Cream Company and try some of the popular product. A landmark in Ot

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Ready, set, shop! OTTUMWA — Iowa's government says businesses must participate in the Tax-Free Weekend this Friday and Saturday. Store manager Greg Martin isn't complaining. "It’ll be much busier [than typical weekends]. Back to school is the second busiest season nex

    July 31, 2014

  • LCL scholarship recipients Supporting the health care future of the community OTTUMWA — For several area college students, Thursday afternoon was a chance to put names and faces with the thousands of scholarship dollars they have just received. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation hosted a reception to honor the 25 college s

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0801 OTT DMV new building exterior -M Ottumwa's DMV station ready to move OTTUMWA — If you believe you'll need to visit the driver's license station next month, you may want to write this down: 2849 N. Court St., Suite B. That'll be the new address for the Iowa DMV's office, which is currently located across from the Fairf

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0801 OTT Five Things logo -L T Five things to do in southeast Iowa OTTUMWA — Celebrate summer in a variety of ways and in several communities this weekend. Many towns are holding festivals, shows and events all centered around the summer theme, so head out while it's warm. 1. "Summer Shorts" is the Davis County Play

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook