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
  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

  • Lottery sales top $3 billion mark OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 billion mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    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

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • IHCC buildings.jpg Grant helps Hills keep students on track

    OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook