(Peetz, Colorado – January 10, 2020)
An as-yet unidentified semi trailer truck driver tragically lost his life Friday afternoon at about 5:15 PM, MST when his 18-wheeler was struck by a BNSF coal train at the dangerous and unguarded double-track (main line and siding) grade crossing of Logan County, CO CR 74 (North Street) in the Colorado/Nebraska border town of Peetz, CO.
Even though the North Street/CR 74 crossing had been the site of four previous collisions between BNSF trains, the crossing lacks any form of active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The crossing also accommodates 16 daily BNSF trains at a maximum allowable speed of 50 mph. It is virtually certain that lights and gates could have prevented this collision and the four before it. BNSF and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train collisions by as much as 96%.
The BNSF road/rail corridor parallels Colorado Highway 113 through Logan County, and the tragedy was being investigated by the Colorado State Patrol and Logan County Sheriff’s Office.