(Alta, Iowa – February 13, 2014)
A family of four, including two young children, ages four and two, had to be cut out of their automobile by first responders after it was struck by a Canadian National freight train at the crossing of CNR tracks and South Main Street in Alta, IA Thursday afternoon about 4:22 P.M.
The car was northbound on Main Street where CN tracks approach from the east at an acute angle, with trackside buildings creating an extremely difficult sight triangle for motorists who encounter those particular directional circumstances.
Buena Vista County Sheriff Gary Launderville said that all four occupants received severe injuries, and were extricated from the wreckage of the destroyed vehicle by firefighters from the Alta Fire Dept.
There were standard flashing lights and bells at the crossing, but no gates to help keep accidents such as Thursday’s from happening, especially in the case of the building blockage and acute angular approach of westbound trains for northbound drivers.
The names of the two adults and two children, all of whom were initially rushed to the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake, IA, from where the two children were airlifted to a pediatric trauma center in Sioux Falls, SD, had still not been released by Friday morning.
Canadian National trains that travel across the South Main Street crossing in Alta do so at a top allowable timetable speed of 40 mph.