WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published October 11, 2009, 09:24 PM

Fatal Train-SUV Collision

A McCanna man is dead after his SUV struck a train outside of Larimore today.

By: Amy Unrau, WDAZ

A McCanna man is dead after his SUV struck a train outside of Larimore today. The victim was traveling north on 36th Street North and was crossing the tracks next to County Road 4.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating details of the accident and will release the name of the 63 year old victim tomorrow.

The man was leaving his daughter's house just a quarter mile outside of Larimore today when his SUV struck a train at 1:35 PM this afternoon.

Sgt. Aaron Hummel with the North Dakota Highway Patrol says, “He had seen the guy coming from the south and began to put measures in for a crash. They activated the break, and with a large train like that, you can see the distance it takes for it to slow down. You can't stop on a dime.”

Paramedics found the victim dead on the scene. Sargent Hummel says the suburban was pushed more than 200 feet from where it came in contact with the train before falling off the tracks. Authorities say the driver of the SUV did not yield, but another possible reason for the accident was the driver’s visibility of the railroad crossing.

Sgt. Hummel says, “There are lots of rural crossings that could either be blocked or visibility reduced by a shelter belt.”

Today's accident isn't the first time people living in nearby homes were concerned about the crossing. Neighboring resident Carol Buchanan says she's been trying to get a light put up for years.

“If a train comes from the west, its very hard to see, unless you get right up to the tracks,” says Buchanan.

The Highway Patrol says there are many railroad crossings like this one that do not have lights or crossing bars.

Sgt. Hummel says, “Cross spot acts as a regulatory traffic sign where you would yield for it if there was a train coming.”

Neighbors argue that the crossing is too close to town and deserves some sort of protection.

Carol Buchanan says, “I'm sad now that something happened here. I know we're just small compared to big business or whatever you want to call it, but there needs to be something done to this railroad track.”

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe train involved was not damaged and continued on to Grand Forks.

The Highway Patrol is still investigating details to find the exact reason for the crash.