(Sibley, Iowa – August 15, 2011)
A farmer hauling gravel in a trailer pulled by a Case tractor had his life barely spared and his trailer destroyed by a Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of 250th Street and UPRR tracks in Osceola County, IA Monday afternoon about 1:45 P.M.
Steven Boerhave, 39, of Ashton, IA, did not see or hear the approaching train until his tractor was on the crossing, which has no electronic protective devices such as lights, bells or gates, and is equipped solely with two passive railroad crossbuck signs to warn motorists of the presence of railroad tracks. The northbound UP train hit the trailer, knocking it onto its top and into a ditch northeast of the tracks.
The UP tracks parallel Highway 60 along this route, and there is insufficient room between the tracks and the highway to safely fit a tractor and trailer at 250th Street. Farmer Boerhave’s equipment suffered $25,000 in damages, the locomotive $20,000 in damages, and the farmer himself was awarded a traffic citation for “Failure to stop a cargo vehicle at a Railroad Crossing,” a law which applies to the hauling of potentially hazardous materials, of which class gravel is not generally included.