(Ixonia, Wisconsin — December 29, 2011)
The driver of a white Chevrolet truck died Thursday afternoon about 4:42 P.M. when his vehicle was struck by Amtrak’s westbound "Empire Builder" passenger train at a dangerous, unguarded private Canadian Pacific railroad crossing just west of Ixonia, WI.
Michael J. Dragan, 44, of Oconomowok, WI was pronounced dead at the scene by an official of the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. The victim had driven down a private lane that exits off Wisconsin Highway 16, which parallels Canadian Pacific tracks, when he encountered the crossing, which is protected only by passive signage and no automatic gates, lights or bells to warn drivers of approaching trains.
The train was held nearly four hours, with some passengers reportedly being able to view the tragic carnage from the train’s windows as the victim was covered by a sheet.
The train was travelling from Chicago, IL to Seattle, WA with 326 passengers on board.