(Pompeys Pillar, Montana – February 13, 2012)
A 17-year-old student on his way to Huntley Project High School near Pompeys Pillar, MT Monday morning narrowly escaped death when the SUV he was driving northbound was struck and virtually destroyed by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of South 28th Road east of Billings, MT. The unidentified teenager was saved only by use of his seat belt when the train struck the SUV on the rear quarter panel and spun it off the crossing, totaling the vehicle.
Even though more than 20 freight trains daily travel at speeds of up to 60 mph across the South 28th Road, the crossing is equipped solely by standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs, and has no automatic protective devices such as lights, bells or gates. Montana Highway Patrol troopers investigating the accident confirmed that a collision between a train and a highway vehicle at the private grade crossing immediately east of South 28th Road just a little more than a year ago resulted in the death of one occupant and serious injuries to two others.